PPIs Linked to an Increased Risk of Clostridium Difficile-Associated Diarrhea

Heartburn medications, otherwise known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), have seen levels of criticism steadily rise over recent months as studies suggest possible affiliations with devastating side effects. Until recently, critics focused on reports that suggest PPI treatment may coincide with a significantly increased risk of atypical fractures. However, a recent Safety Announcement issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged that PPI use may be associated with the development of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD).

Proton pump inhibitors are indicated in the treatment of symptoms associated with the production of excess stomach acid. Subsequently, PPIs represent a pronounced and long-lasting reduction of gastric acid production. Their mechanism of action represents the most potent inhibitors of acid secretion on the U.S. market. Accordingly, by halting the production of acid, PPIs can assist in the treatment of heartburn and other related complications.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are marketed under various brand and generic drug names as prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) products. Prescription PPIs are used to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach and small intestine ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. Over-the-counter PPIs are used to treat frequent heartburn. The following is a list of popular PPI medications:

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

While these medications demonstrate a propensity for the reduction of stomach acid and associated side effects, they are not without concern. According to a recent FDA Safety Announcement, officials notified the public that the use of stomach acid drugs known as proton pump inhibitors may be associated with an increased risk of Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD). A diagnosis of CDAD should be considered for patients taking PPIs who develop diarrhea that does not improve. 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.

Further compounding concerns regarding the use of PPIs, are several studies that suggest the heart burn medications may coincide with atypical fractures as well. Patients implementing a strict regimen may significantly increase their risk of developing fractures, particularly in the hip. 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 for extended periods of time.

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 a 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.