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Protonix Birth Defects Lawsuit
Protonix is a medical drug used mainly to treat heartburn. The medicine works by blocking an enzyme in the stomach wall that reduces the amount of stomach acid produced. Many physicians prescribe the drug to relieve the symptoms of erosive esophagitis and other conditions due to an excess of stomach acid. Unfortunately, Protonix has been linked to birth defects. Our leading law firm has been investigating the potential link to birth defects from pregnant mothers who took this drug. To investigate potential birth defects resulting from the use of Protonix, please contact our lawyers who have extensive experience in dealing with these types of cases.
Protonix is a proton pump inhibitor drug that works by inhibiting the creation of gastric acid. It’s extremely common for treating heart burn. In fact, about 119 million medical prescriptions for the drug were written in 2009. 25 percent of these prescriptions were written for pregnant women who often suffer from heartburn. However, the effects of these drugs on developing fetuses have not been studied sufficiently. The drug is used as a short term treatment for erosion and ulceration of the esophagus, which is often a result of gastroesophagal reflux disease. Most times, the drug is prescribed for an eight weeks duration. Another treatment of eight weeks with the drug may be followed if necessary. If the drug works in patients, it may also be used in the long term as a form of maintenance therapy. It’s important to note that the medication can be sold under various other brand names including Somac, Pantecta, Neoppi and Protium.
There are many side effects associated with taking Protonix. Serious side effects such as hives, difficulty breathing and swelling may be the results of an allergic reaction, and patients should immediately stopped taking the drug and call their doctor if they experience these symptoms. Other serious symptoms may be linked to low magnesium and include dizziness, confusion, fast and uneven heart rate, unusual muscle movements, jitteriness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, coughing, a choking feeling, seizure and convulsions. Less serious side effects are more common and include weight loss or gain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, dizziness, drowsiness, joint pain, insomnia and headaches. All side effects from the drug should be reported to the patient’s physician to ensure safety and precautionary measures are taken.
Warnings and Precautions
Heartburn can often be confused with more serious symptoms such as the beginning of a heart attack. If patients taking protonic for heartburn experience pain in their chest, especially the kind that spreads to their arms and shoulders, they should contact a physician immediately. Those allergic to pantoprazole, merbendazole and benzimidaxzole like Albenza shouldn’t take Protonix since the medication is made with some of the same ingredients. It’s also important to note that protonic doesn’t work immediately for relief of heartburn or other associated ailments. While conditions might improve before the full prescribed time, it’s important that patients finish taking the medication for the time prescribed. The drug should also not be taken with atazanavir or nelfinavir because it causes drug interactions. Chronic use of the drug has shown in animal studies to cause certain types of stomach cancers; however, it’s not known if the drug has the same effect on the human body. Finally, long term use of the drug can also lead to a vitamin B-12 deficiency because the drug makes it harder for the body to absorb this vitamin.
Link to Birth Defects
Protonix is classified under pregnancy category B by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This category means that the drug hasn’t show to harm a developing baby in animal studies. However, there is no data available in controlled human studies as to whether taking the drug while pregnant causes birth defects in humans. Two studies were done in 2010 that raised some concerns regarding whether the use of proton pump inhibiting drugs causes damage to babies in the womb. The University of Pennsylvania conducted one of these studies, which was published in the Gastroenterology journal, gathered data on just over 200,000 women from the Health Improvement Network (THIN) database. Out of the 208,951 pregnancies in the system, there were 2,445 cases of cardiac birth defects. This is double the normal rate of cardiac birth defects. The study concluded that taking proton pump inhibiting drugs during the first trimester of pregnancies could lead to serious birth defects like septal defect. Moreover, the findings were presented at the Digestive Disease Week Conference in May 2010. The other study involving the medication and birth defects was done in Denmark and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study found that the number of children born with birth defects who’s mothers took proton pump inhibitors was not statistically significant. However, the study found that women who took the medication four weeks prior to pregnancy had a 39 percent increased risk of having children who suffered from birth defects.
Getting Professional Help
Birth defects linked to Protonix are often extremely serious and lifelong. These effects will be expensive to treat and can even be fatal. The most common types of infant defects possibly linked to protonix include the following:
-Septal Defects: These are usually one or more holes located in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles in the heart. It’s one of the most common birth defects.
-Tetralogy of Fallot: Another common birth defect found in the heart.
-Coarctation of the Aorta: This condition results in restricted blood flow in the heart of babies. It is cause by a narrowing aorta.
-Malformed Heart: It’s when the hypo-plastic left or right side of the heart hasn’t developed properly.
-Liver, lungs, brain, limbs and/or kidney issues.
If you believe your child is a victim of birth defects due to use of Protonix, it’s best to contact a professional who can advise on whether you and your family may be eligible to obtain damages. Money obtained from a lawsuit can be used towards treating a medical condition, lost wages and emotional compensation for the pain your child endures.
If you took Protonix while pregnant or nursing and your child was born with birth defects, Protonix could be the culprit. Victims of birth defects from drugs are often eligible to get compensation from the manufacturer of the medication. Please contact our lawyers if you believe you are a victim of Protonix as soon as possible. Time is usually crucial in these types of matters. It’s best to be informed, and find out what legal options are available for you and your child.