Millions of Americans turn to medications to relieve them of their pain and suffering and also improve the quality of life. Implant surgeries and drugs are capable of curbing severe health conditions, save, or even change lives. While medications are beneficial to many patients, when manufacturers are not accurate in manufacturing these drugs, the outcome may compromise the safety of the consumer. Several drugs have been on the map for causing adverse effects or even death to consumers due to deceptive marketing techniques and inadequate lab testing. Thus, consumers need to know what risks come with various drugs to make wise decisions concerning their health.
At Consumer Alert Now, we are committed to providing information about potentially harmful and high-risk drugs by informing citizens nationwide of their complications, adverse side-effects, health conditions, and how to take legal actions. We are here to help people who have been injured by dangerous drugs. In this article, we will focus on the dangers of Prevacid and filing a mass tort against its manufacturers.
Prevacid, also commonly known as lansoprazole, belongs to a category of drugs known as Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). Doctors may recommend Prevacid for the treatment of stomach problems like ulcers. It is also used to treat esophagus problems like acid reflux. The drug works by lowering the acid amount made by the stomach. It relieves acid reflux symptoms like heartburn, persistent cough, and difficulty in swallowing. Prevacid also helps heal acid damage done to the esophagus and stomach, and it may also help to prevent esophageal cancer.
Prevacid was approved in 1995 by the United States’ Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). Thus, it is accessible both as an over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. However, several studies have linked long-term use of Prevacid to multiple severe side-effects that are risky to one’s health. Some of the side-effects associated with Prevacid may result in death or severe injury, including cancer and kidney damage. As a result, several lansoprazole users have filed lawsuits claiming complications from using the drug.
It is advisable that before you start or stop using lansoprazole, you should speak with your doctor. For over-the-counter drugs, read the instructions keenly on the package to ensure the medication is ideal for you. Additionally, check the drug’s ingredients on the label even if you have used the drug in the past. This is because the manufacturer might have altered the ingredients. Also, drugs with the same brand names could have different ingredients intended for different purposes. Therefore, taking the wrong prescription could be dangerous.
Approved Prevacid Uses
As we mentioned earlier, several people use Prevacid to treat problems linked to excess acid in the stomach. The drug is meant for short-term use only (between ten days to twelve weeks). However, in certain instances, patients use it for extended periods. The FDA approved that Prevacid can be used for the following:
- Treat and maintain duodenal ulcers
- Treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms
- Treat and maintain erosive esophagitis
- Treat certain gastric ulcers
- Treat H. pylori
- Treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome as well as other hyper-secretory conditions
Lansoprazole is not intended for quick heartburn relief. It may take about four days for the drug to ease this symptom. Also, this drug isn’t recommended for treating symptomatic GERD in babies.
Prevacid Missed Dose and Overdose Information
It is possible for a patient to overdose on lansoprazole. However, research has found out that a person who takes twenty times the dose of an adult will not suffer adverse reactions. A test was conducted on mice and rats, and no risk of relative overdose was found even at 1,300 times the dose of an adult. Symptoms of overdosing on Prevacid include trouble breathing or passing out. If an overdose occurs, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible to provide the next cause of action.
If you miss a lansoprazole dose, you should take the dose immediately you remember. Moreover, if the time to take the next dosage is near, you can wait up to the next slated time.
How Prevacid is Taken
Patients take lansoprazole orally. The drug is sold in delayed-release orally disintegrating tablets and delayed-release capsules. You can swallow the capsules whole. For disintegrating tablets, you can place them on your tongue and let them dissolve with or with no water. Either version of this drug has to be taken before a meal. Also, do not crush this medicine before swallowing it.
Prevacid is available in many forms. Generic and over-the-counter types are available. Also, there are store brands that are equivalent to over-the-counter versions. All versions have a similar active ingredient, i.e., lansoprazole. Available versions of Prevacid and its equivalents include the following:
Prevacid- this is the prescription lansoprazole brand name. It is available in capsules
Prevacid SoluTab- this is the prescription form of Prevacid meant to dissolve. The drug is available in tablets that dissolve on the tongue and for suspension in a liquid.
Prevacid 24HR- This is an over-the-counter form of Prevacid.
Store brands- store brands include Heartburn Treatment 24 Hour and Heartburn Relief 24 Hour. These can be compared to Prevacid 24HR.
Generic lansoprazole- these are generic versions of prescription Prevacid.
Prescription Prevacid drugs are available in 15 and 30 mg pills while Prevacid 24HR is available only in 15mg. Dosages of this drug may vary depending on what condition is being treated. Additionally, physicians may look at the weight and age of their patients before prescribing the drug. They can adjust their patients’ dosage based on other health problems a patient might have. The ideal daily Prevacid dosage in patients suffering from liver disease is 15mg.
Who Shouldn’t Take Prevacid?
Patients that have an allergic reaction towards lansoprazole (the active ingredient in Prevacid) shouldn’t take Prevacid. Similarly, patients allergic to any other Prevacid ingredient or other PPI drugs should also not take this drug. Prevacid ingredients vary depending on the version. You should carefully check on the ingredients level for any allergic reactions before using this drug.
Generally, patients with the following conditions should consult with their doctors before taking lansoprazole:
- Liver disease
- Phenylketonuria (PKE)
- Low magnesium level
- Allergies to PPI ingredients or PPI
Also, breastfeeding or pregnant women should first talk to their doctor before using this drug.
Lansoprazole Drug Interactions
Lansoprazole interactions can occur with a total of 290 different drugs and dietary supplements. Patients should ask their doctors what drugs have been prescribed to them before they can start taking Prevacid. Other Prevacid interactions may happen with common medications like aspirin and ampicillin. Drug interaction can also occur with fish oil.
Risks, Warnings, and Negative Side Effects of Prevacid
Several studies have shown that the use of lansoprazole may result in severe side effects. Mostly, these side-effects are common with extended use lasting for one year or more. Several warnings have been issued by the FDA about Prevacid since 2010. These warnings include the following:
- Hip, spine, and wrist fractures and osteoporosis
- Kidney failure and kidney disease because of Acute Interstitial Nephritis (AIN)
- Deficiency of vitamin B12
- Diarrhea associated with clostridium difficile. This is severe diarrhea which may contain pus or blood.
- An autoimmune disease known as lupus erythematosus
- Increased birth defects risk when the medication is used during pregnancy
- Prevacid and its link to muscular, neurological, and cardiac health complications which are caused by low levels of magnesium in the blood.
- Prevacid dependency because of the rebound acid overproduction when the medication is stopped.
Additionally, in June 2015, fresh safety concerns about lansoprazole were raised. This is after research revealed that Prevacid might increase the risk of heart attack by approximately 21%. This risk still exists even when a patient is mostly health without a record of heart problems.
The most commonly referred to medical research that linked Prevacid and other PPIs to chronic kidney disease (CKD) was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2016. The study analyzed the statistics from about 10,482 people over fifteen years. It concluded that the chances of CKD development in patients that took PPIs are higher compared to those that had alternative treatments.
One main concern about CKD is it worsens over several months or years with no noticeable symptoms up to the point it results in kidney failure. When it causes kidney failure, patients would need a kidney transplant or dialysis to survive.
Using Prevacid for a short period doesn’t usually result in side-effects. However, when they occur, they’re typically mild. The side-effects that patients should be more concerned about include muscle or joint pain, abnormal heartburn, weakness, leg cramps, and nervousness. When these side-effects arise, you should consult with your doctor. Other side-effects you experience may be common. Common lansoprazole side-effects include:
- Diarrhea (though not severe)
- Slight stomach pain
Several new studies have linked Prevacid use to side-effects in infants. A study done in 2017 showed that if this drug is administered before a child turns one year, it increases the risk of bone fractures. Another study conducted in 2018 found out that if Prevacid is administered at infancy, it can result in childhood allergies.
Prevacid Mass Torts and Other Lawsuits
Patients who suffered kidney-related problems have filed tort lawsuits against Prevacid manufacturers (Takeda Pharmaceuticals) and other PPI manufacturers claiming that the issues are associated with this drug. By April 2019, a record of 10,373 pending cases existed out of a total of 11,489 that had been filed over different PPIs. In August 2017, these lawsuits were combined into mass torts, specially referred to as multidistrict litigation (MDL) by a federal panel. MDLs allow similar related lawsuits to proceed through legal processes quite fast. These lawsuits are in the federal court of New Jersey.
Also, in 2017, plaintiffs who suffered kidney damage filed a motion seeking the Judicial Panel on MDL to form new multidistrict litigation in Louisiana. They sought to consolidate many lawsuits nationwide that were filed against Prevacid and other PPI drug manufacturers.
The plaintiffs alleged that due to the use of PPIs (Prevacid included) for conditions related to gastric acid, they were diagnosed with kidney injuries. The injuries included renal failure, chronic kidney disease (CKD) acute interstitial nephritis (AIN).
The plaintiffs’ attorneys had over 5,000 PPI cases being investigated, with about 100 cases expecting to be filed in the following weeks.
The defendants for these lawsuits included Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, The Procter & Gamble Company, and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. The PPI drugs in question include Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Dexilant, and Protonix.
Given that there is continued long-term use of over-the-counter and prescription Prevacid, it is anticipated that many more lawsuits will be filed. This is because several people are expected to develop kidney-related problems as well as other health conditions. The injuries that patients claim in lansoprazole mass torts include:
- Kidney disease
- Kidney injury
- Kidney failure
- Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN)
Symptoms of kidney-related problems that you should look out for include:
- High blood pressure
- Being unable to eat
- Irregular heartburn
- Lack of urine
- Abnormal levels of electrolyte
- Presence of fluid in the lungs
Kidney-related problems may worsen over a long-time period and cause permanent damage if left untreated. In case you experience more than one of the above symptoms simultaneously, consult your physician as quickly as possible. Apart from mass torts against Prevacid, those that had severe health issues and sought medical care may be able to recover damages from Prevacid manufacturer.
The Process of Mass Torts Lawsuits
- Mass torts refer to civil actions that involve many plaintiffs against a single or many defendant corporations. The lawsuits can be filed either in federal or state courts. The word ‘mass’ has multiple meanings when talking about mass torts. One definition is that it refers to the involvement of several complainants in tort litigation. Secondly, it means the use of mass media by lawyers representing plaintiffs to recruit more complainants to join the class of plaintiffs and the continuing litigation. The media may be used directly or indirectly by plaintiffs’ lawyers to air the lawsuit preliminarily to the public as well as potential jury pool.
Mass tort lawsuits are often filed when a defective product (Prevacid in this case) causes harm to several people. Also, they can be launched when a disastrous event, for instance, an oil derailment or oil spill injures several people. Whichever the case, the formation of a mass tort enables several victims to sue the defendant/defendants whose negligence resulted in the harm they suffered.
Before a claim becomes part of a mass tort, it often starts like an intuition. Perhaps the FDA may release a recall of a drug or new research findings of risks of the medication. Alternatively, a few attorneys may notice that the documentation of the drug does not appear to be complete.
As several claimants, experts, and attorneys are brought in, the number of claims and advertising increases. Finally, attorneys representing plaintiffs and occasionally defense attorneys are seeking to file a mass tort. Mass torts AIM to help courts to efficiently oversee a group of related lawsuits that are filed across several jurisdictions.
For mass torts to succeed, the set of lawsuits has to involve at least one common issue of fact. A judicial panel then assembles to consider requests to combine the suits into a mass tort. Mass torts are granted if the panel of judges finds that the cases are convenient to the witnesses and parties and they will encourage the efficient and just conduct of similar actions.
The court in which the mass tort is filed has authority over all the matters of the cases. It can decide through summary judgment or dismissal. Additionally, the court controls the limit and pace of discovery plus the scope of expert testimony.
Mass torts are beneficial in several ways, one of them being they are significantly economical. The main disadvantage of mass torts is, mass coordination may provide defendants with an extended time of building their defense.
With a mass tort, each plaintiff is treated individually, although they’re part of a big group. This means for every plaintiff; specific facts will be established, which include anything personal to the plaintiff. Also, it includes the specific damages a plaintiff has suffered due to the defendant’s negligent actions. Mass tort litigations typically involve pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices.
Mass tort lawsuits can be filed when Prevacid harms several plaintiffs. Typically, the personal cases of several complainants are consolidated before one judge or in one court. The group conducts investigations linked to Prevacid just once, instead of severally by every separate plaintiff.
Mass torts lawsuits enable complainants to get efficient justice without tying up multiple courts all over the country to hear variations of a similar case.
How to Join a Mass Tort Lawsuit
In case you believe you might have a mass tort, the best step to take is to talk to an attorney who has experience dealing with mass tort lawsuits. If you haven’t already filed a mass tort, you may have to seek the help of a mass tort lawyer and file one. If you have already filed the mass tort, you may choose whether to join a mass tort lawsuit or fight your case individually. Your lawyer can explain in detail how you can join a mass tort lawsuit.
The damages you receive after a mass tort lawsuit ends will be specific to the injuries you suffered. All complainants may get the same amount of compensation. However, you have the right to get a compensation amount that matches your loss if your injuries were more severe
Mass tort litigations are much complicated compared to personal injury lawsuits. We do not recommend that you file a mass tort claim on your own. There are many complainants involved, and damages may slightly differ depending on the case. Thus, you must work with a lawyer who understands your case on an individual level. The lawyer should be ready to advocate on your behalf through the entire process. In most cases, multiple lawyers will mobilize resources and cooperate to maximize plaintiff compensation.
What Happens After the Formation of Mass Tort Lawsuit?
After a mass tort lawsuit has been formed, a plaintiff’s steering committee (PSC) is also established under the mass tort. The purpose of the PSC is to efficiently and collectively represent the interests of each plaintiff. The PSC comprises of volunteer attorneys and paralegals who work together to finish the process of discovery. Attorneys on the PSC can help protect their clients’ interests by being in leadership positions.
If the mass tort proceeds, the two sides will choose leading cases to determine which way the mass tort will go and how the juries will take the allegations or testimonies. It is a win for lawyers investigating these cases if the juries side with plaintiffs. It is specifically a win if juries award the plaintiffs punitive damages. This is because it sends a message to the drug manufacturer that they are on the wrong
Even after the juries rule in favor of the plaintiffs, it may take months or years before the settlement day is reached. After settlements have been reached, clients will be tracked down to make sure they agree with the settlement, so the attorneys that participated can be paid. Even though mass torts are a long and risky process, there is a substantial possible reward.
Get a Dangerous Drugs Attorney Near Me
When you sustain an injury or your loved one dies due to a dangerous drug, and you are seeking justice, you can get help. While a few people may choose to fight it alone, hiring a mass tort attorney is the best decision. This is because lawsuits against pharmaceuticals can be complicated. Thus, you should ensure you have a competent and experienced legal team on your side to protect you. If you need a mass tort legal representation or are considering joining a mass tort lawsuit, call Consumer Alert Now at 800-511-0747. We will set up a consultation, so we can discuss your case and the eligibility to participate in a mass tort lawsuit.