Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs like Prilosec (omeprazole), Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Protonix (pantoprazole), Aciphex (rabeprazole), and Dexilant (dexlansoprazole) are often prescribed for the treatment of heartburn, stomach ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). These drugs work by blocking the production of stomach acid. Unfortunately, scientific studies have indicated that when taking during pregnancy, these drugs may also increase the risk of proton pump inhibitor birth defects.
Evidence of Proton Pump Inhibitor Birth Defects
In an analysis of over 200,000 pregnant women from the Health Improvement Database (U.K.), mothers who took drugs like Prilosec and Nexium experienced a significantly increased risk of proton pump inhibitor birth defects, particularly proton pump inhibitor heart defects.
Another study examined roughly 5,000 pregnant women who used PPI drugs like Protonix and Aciphex in the four weeks before conception through the first trimester. Those who were exposed during the first trimester seemed to have no increased risk of proton pump inhibitor birth defects, but those who took the drug before conception had a significantly higher risk of major proton pump inhibitor birth defects.
Researchers cautioned that more studies are needed to determine the extent of the risk for proton pump inhibitor birth defects, and to determine if some drugs may be more dangerous than others.
Evidence for Proton Pump Inhibitor Heart Defects
In the aforementioned study published in Gastroenterology, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that the use of PPI drugs like Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex and Dexilant during pregnancy was associated with a doubling in the risk of newborn proton pump inhibitor heart defects such as septal defects.
Cardiac birth defects are among the most common and are the leading cause of birth-defect-related deaths. “Septal” birth defects refer to instances in which the newborn’s heart has a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers or the two lower chambers. These types of cardiac birth defects allow blood to pass from the left side of the heart to the right side, which may increase blood pressure in the lungs and cause difficulty breathing. Treatment typically requires surgery to close the defect.
A Proton Pump Inhibitor Birth Defects Lawyer May be Able to Help
If you or a loved one has had a child with proton pump inhibitor birth defects or cardiac birth defects, and you believe medications like Nexium, Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Aciphex, or Dexilant may be to blame, you may be eligible for compensation in a proton pump inhibitor birth defects lawsuit. Contact Chaffin Luhana LLP today for a confidential case evaluation at 1-888-480-1123.