Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI's) were first introduced to the market in the 1980's for treatment of heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), acid reflux, and ulcers. The American Gastroenterological Association estimates that approximately 33 percent of people in the United States (US) have acid reflux disease.
If you are a woman and have been pregnant before you may have had problems with heartburn during the pregnancy due to the changing hormones and pressure from the expanding uterus. While many pregnant women can control their heartburn discomfort with diet modifications or intermittent use of over-the-counter antacids others may have been placed on a PPI to help control their stomach symptoms. Unfortunately, some women who were placed on PPI's during their pregnancy went on to give birth to children with birth defects. Recent studies have concluded that there may be a connection between PPI's and congenital heart defects.
One study that was performed in 2001 that evaluated 900 pregnancies showed that Prilosec appeared to increase the risk of cardiac defects in newborns. Since that study, an additional research study was performed to add more evidence to this potential drug and birth defect connection. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania examined data that looked at 200,000 pregnancies and found that nearly 2,500 cases of newborn heart defects when the mother took a PPI medication during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some of the birth defects that were seen were: ventral septal defects (VSD), atrial septal defects (ASD), holes in a heart chamber, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Tetralogy of Fallot and cortication of the aorta. The PPI's that were evaluated in the studies were Prevacid, Nexium, Prilosec, Aciphex and Protonix.
If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and are currently taking a PPI medication for reflux disease or heartburn, talk to your doctor or obstetrician about your options for symptom control during pregnancy.
If you were unaware that taking a PPI medication during pregnancy could lead to potential birth defects and your baby was born with a congenital heart defect you may be eligible for compensation. Please feel free to contact one of our experienced dangerous drug lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.