Protonix, also called proton pump inhibitor (PPI), is a prescription medicine used to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and relieve heartburn. However, this medicine, apart from the common side effects, like nausea and vomiting, may cause long term kidney disease.
If you are facing kidney problems because you have taken Protonix, you may need to consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Georgia. If the Protonix manufacturer is proven liable, you may be able to get compensated for your medical expenses.
What Is Protonix
Pantoprazole (Protonix) is used to decrease the amount of acid your stomach produces. It usually prescribed to relieve the following symptoms:
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Excessive production of stomach acid
Belonging to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), it is also used to heal the esophagus and stomach acid damage (like acid reflux) and prevent ulcers or esophagus cancer.
The difference between other heartburn medicines and Protonix is that Protonix works differently. Most heartburn medicines are used to neutralize the stomach’s acid, while PPIs block the stomach from generating acid. Unfortunately, physicians often prescribe PPIs for prolonged, and sometimes for lifetime use, and patients use the medicine for too long and without supervision. This long-term therapy over the years has raised a lot of concerns about serious side effects occurring.
The cells in your stomach that make acid to kill bacteria and digest food are blocked, and the amount of acid produced is less. As a result, you are feeling relieved by your symptoms. However, if you use this drug for an extended period, serious side effects may be developed. Some of the long term side effects could be:
- Development of pneumonia
- Risk of fractures
- Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea,
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN)
- Cutaneous and systemic lupus erythematosus events
Usage Of Protonix
Protonix is supposed to be used for a short time for specific stomach conditions. These conditions are:
- Chronic heartburn – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). When the muscle used to prevent acid and food from moving to the esophagus does not work correctly.
- Ulcers. When the stomach’s protective layer is damaged, people feel uncomfortable and pain around their breastbone area.
- Damaged stomach lining from anti-inflammatory and pain relief medicine (NSAIDs) overuse.
Protonix can provide relief when used correctly. Nevertheless, if it is used for an extended period, serious problems may occur.
Protonix can be useful for people suffering from long-term heartburn. Consequently, it may be prescribed continuously, causing severe damage to the patient. There are two types of misuse of this drug:
- Overprescribing: Protonix is not meant for long-term use, and it is not a cure for heartburn. The therapy for these conditions is a change in lifestyle and diet. PPIs are a short term solution to offer some relief to the patient. Using this drug for an extended period may have undesirable outcomes.
- Combined with steroids: Sometimes, doctors prescribe PPIs to prevent stomach damage from steroids. However, using Protonix to protect the patient from steroids was, most of the time, medically unnecessary.
This overuse of this drug can lead to severe consequences – including serious kidney damage.
Kidney Disease Connected With Protonix Misuse
Sadly, people using Protonix usually will not get a sign that their kidneys are not functioning correctly. The damage caused cannot be undone. People with no kidney problems will not suspect that something is going wrong until it’s too late.
Protonix prevents the stomach from producing the acid necessary for breaking down food and absorbing minerals, like magnesium and calcium. Evidence shows that long term mistreatment with this drug can lead to kidney deficiency.
A kidney condition called interstitial nephritis often has no symptoms at all, and if left untreated, it can lead to chronic kidney disease. This condition occurs when the kidneys become inflamed due to a lack of minerals in the body.
Furthermore, Protonix is also connected to chronic kidney disease, progressing to kidney failure. End-stage renal disease is when kidneys are no longer able to filter the blood. Unless the patient is placed on dialysis or has a kidney transplant, the result is death.
Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you or someone you love faces kidney problems due to Protonix usage, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer. Our experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. law firm, will help you build your case against the medicine manufacturer. The manufacturer should be held responsible for negligence and cover your medical expenses and treatment. Call us today for your free consultation.