Heartburn, many Tennessee residents suffer with it almost daily. To combat the pain and discomfort, they turn to over-the-counter medications that do seem to help, but at what cost? Have you tried heartburn medications such as Nexium or Prilosec only to be diagnosed with a major medical issue as a result?

When you read the warning labels on many drugs, both prescription and OTC, you'll often find that the possible side effects seem worse than the problem you are trying to treat. Still, you try because you just want some level of relief. They're safe right? Not necessarily. When it comes to heartburn medication, specifically, drugs like Nexium and Prilosec have been linked to kidney failure, bone fractures, dementia and premature death -- among a variety of other health issues.

The study

According to a study out of the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis, people who take proton pump inhibitors for one to two years are more likely to die within five years. In fact, the risk of premature death rose 50 percent in study participants. Those who took the drugs for only a short period of time, no more than 30 days, showed no significant decline in their health.

Are they safe?

There are risks when taking any kind of medication. PPI medications are no different. These drugs are believed to be relatively safe, if only taken for a short time frame and only if taken for a diagnosed medical condition. Unfortunately, the OTC heartburn medications are marketed in a way that would make you think that they are safe to take daily for as long as you need.

Are you sick or did you lose a loved one due to the use of PPI's?

If you are experiencing significant health issues due to using PPI's, or you lost a loved one and believe that their heartburn medication use may be to blame, you may have the ability to seek compensation for your losses through legal means. Bringing claims against drug companies can be a bit overwhelming. There is a lot involved in such cases, and they can take a long while to resolve.

While bringing such claims can be emotionally draining, doing so may be worth it if it means getting compensated for your losses, holding the company responsible and getting drugs removed from store shelves or at least getting warning labels updated so that consumers know what to really expect.

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