Dexilant is a proton pump inhibitor, a kind of drug that reduces stomach acid and treats symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Dexilant used to be called Kapidex and is made by Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda. Dexilant has recently been found to have possible connections to some very serious side effects when used over the long-term. These range from pneumonia to chronic kidney disease, and may cause people to suffer from devastating illnesses, or even to die from them. If you have been harmed by Dexilant, now may be the right time to file a lawsuit against Takeda.
What is Dexilant?
Dexilant is a prescription drug developed and manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a Japanese-based company. It belongs to the class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, and is used to treat symptoms of GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease, among other similar uses. The generic name of the drug is dexlansoprazole and it was first created in the 2000s and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2009.
The FDA also approved a name change for the drug. It was originally called Kapidex, but this was similar to the names of two other medications: Kadian and Casodex. Takeda got permission from the FDA to start marketing dexlansoprazole as Dexilant in the spring of 2010. The name change was triggered by reports of errors in dispensing the medication because of confusion with the others. The three drugs are not similar and are used to treat different things.
Uses for Dexilant
Dexilant is used to treat the heartburn associated with GERD. This is a condition that is characterized by stomach acid flowing backwards and up the esophagus. This causes heartburn, but also serious damage to the esophagus. Using Dexilant to treat the heartburn gives the esophagus a chance to heal and it prevents even more damage. This damage is called esophageal erosion. Dexilant works in these ways by inhibiting the proton pumps in the stomach, which reduces the amount of acid that is made.
The most common side effects that patients report experiencing when taking Dexilant include abdominal pains, upper respiratory tract infections, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and flatulence. These are not considered to be serious side effects in most patients, but they should be reported to a doctor if they become severe or do not lessen over time.
There are also some uncommon, but potential side effects of Dexilant. Anyone who experiences these should seek immediate emergency medical attention. The serious symptoms include a rash and hives, itchy skin, trouble breathing or swallowing, a fast heartbeat, an irregular heartbeat, lightheadedness, dizziness, shaking, severe diarrhea, a fever, excessive tiredness, and muscle spasms.
Long-Term Side Effects
GERD is a chronic condition, which means that some people use Dexilant and other PPIs over the long term. Doing so has long been considered safe and low-risk, but with more research, long-term consequences of using these drugs are emerging and are troubling. Dexilant inhibits the formation and release of stomach acid, but that acid is necessary for digesting food and as a first line defense against infectious agents.
Of the many consequences of using Dexilant for a long time, one may be pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs. During the night, when a person is laying down, stomach contents may come up the esophagus and enter the trachea, which leads to the lungs. This happens in most people, but healthy people are able to combat any potential infection before it starts. In people on PPIs, however, the stomach is less acidic and more likely to contain bacterial cells that cause pneumonia. This means that people using PPIs are at a greater risk of developing the infection.
Another potential issue is another type of bacterium that causes severe diarrhea. It is called Clostridium difficile and infection caused by this bacterium causes a kind of diarrhea that can be life-threatening. Usually a person gets infected by it through ingestion in food. With the lower stomach acidity in people on Dexilant, the bacteria have a greater chance of surviving and causing an infection that can become severe.
Connections have also been found between PPIs like Dexilant and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These drugs seem to affect how a person absorbs calcium, which can lead to weak bones, osteoporosis, and bone fractures. The drugs may also impact vitamin B12 levels and cause a deficiency that can lead to a type of anemia.
Chronic Kidney Disease
One of the most troubling of all potential risks of using Dexilant is the potential for kidney damage and chronic kidney disease. A couple of recent studies found this connection and has suggested that it explains why the number of cases of kidney disease has risen recently. Dexilant and similar drugs are widely used by many people.
One of the studies looked at over 10,000 people from another study to look for connections between PPI use and chronic kidney disease. The connection was clearly seen, although it wasn’t possible to be sure that Dexilant or other PPIs caused the kidney disease. The link between the two, however, was significant. Chronic kidney disease is a serious condition. If left untreated it will ultimately lead to the failure of the kidneys and death. If an underlying cause can be found the disease may be cured, but often it is a condition someone must live with forever.
Lawsuits over Dexilant are likely to be filed in the near future. The information about potential serious side effects from long-term use of the drug is just now coming to light thanks to research studies. Patients who have suffered, and possibly even died, from pneumonia, diarrhea, or kidney disease may be able to make a case against manufacturers of PPIs like Takeda, the maker of Dexilant. Living with a chronic condition like kidney disease is expensive, disruptive, and can be painful and even debilitating. It can be difficult to live a normal life when living with something like chronic kidney disease.
Because research is only just now finding out how serious some of the side effects of Dexilant are, lawsuits have not yet been filed. There is still time, if you believe you were harmed by long-term use of this drug, to make your case and seek justice and compensation. Further investigations may make the connection between Dexilant and serious illnesses clearer, but may also uncover information about what Takeda knew and didn’t know about these consequences. If the company can be found to have known about the risks, the cases against it will be strong and people like you may be able to recover monetary damages.