Elderly Patients Taking PPIs May Be At An Increased Risk of Complications

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), otherwise known as heart burn medications, have succeeded in becoming the most widely used drugs in the world. Contributing to their popularity, is the influx of the older adult population that has witnessed an exponential boom thanks to revolutionary medical intervention. It is fairly common for older individuals to be susceptible to acid-related gastrointestinal disorders that require treatment with PPIs. However, PPI use in the elderly has been shown to lead to a number of health concerns.

Proton pump inhibitors are indicated for the treatment of symptoms associated with excess stomach acid production. Heartburn medications represent a pronounced and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production. Therefore, they have the inherent ability to control the factors that result in heartburn. They are considered the most potent inhibitors of acid secretion on the U.S. market. The following are several popular name-brand PPIs:

  • Nexium
  • Prevacid
  • Prilosec
  • Protonix
  • Aciphex
  • Vimovo
  • Zegerid

The use of PPIs such as these by the elderly has been shown to lead to a number of severe and potentially life-threatening situations. According to a publication posted on PubMed.gov, PPI use is associated with an increased risk of fractures, Clostridium difficile infection, community-acquired pneumonia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and drug interactions. These concerns have been reviewed and are currently being weighed against the benefits provided by PPIs.

Accordingly, PPIs may inhibit the calcium absorption, directly interfere with osteoclast function, or induce hypergastrinaemia, resulting in the reduction of bone mineral density. Although short term use of such medications is generally well tolerated, concern has grown over the use of PPIs by the elderly. An article published in the British Medical Journal acknowledges that the chronic use of PPIs may be associated with increased risk of hip fracture in certain populations.

According to a recent FDA Safety Announcement, officials notified the public that the use PPIs may be associated with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD) as well. Elderly patients who use PPIs may be at more of a risk in the development of this debilitating condition. Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea that does not improve. Symptoms include watery stool, abdominal pain, and fever, and patients may go on to develop more serious intestinal conditions. The disease can also be spread in hospitals.

Do I Have a PPI Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in PPI lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has been injured by PPI, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.