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Proton Pump Inhibitors

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Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs that are highly effective in inhibition of acid secretion. They were first introduced in 1980. Omeprazole was the first drug of this group to be prescribed to patients. This article will discuss details regarding these widely prescribed drugs.

What are Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)?

PPIs are a group of drugs that are used in the treatment of gastroesopheageal reflux disease (GERD). They are the most commonly used FDA-approved drugs. They help in treatment of various stomach acid problems like gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, Helicobacter pylori infections, etc.

Why are Proton Pump Inhibitors prescribed?

PPIs help in the prevention as well as treatment of conditions related to stomach acid. These conditions include:

What is the Action of Proton Pump Inhibitors?

The stomach produces acid to help in digestion of food. When this acid starts irritating the stomach lining or the end part of the esophagus, it leads to acidity, ulcers, as well as indigestion. Proton pump inhibitors come into the picture as they are able to block the excessive secretion of stomach acid. They act on the system called the proton pump.

The proton pump is actually cells that pump acid into the stomach. The proton pump takes away the non-acidic potassium ion and in turn sends in the acidic hydrogen ion into the stomach. More the number of ions, more acidic contents within the stomach. The PPIs shut down the proton pump to some extent, so that excessive acid secretion stops, reducing the problems associated with it.

Are ALL Proton Pump Inhibitors Same?

Yes, the action of all PPIs is same. Also, there is no proof that says one drug is better than the other. However, some drugs have a longer lasting effect than others. These drugs are processed in different ways by the liver and interact in a different manner with other drugs.

Are H2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors Same?

No, both drugs are different. But, they both have the same action, i.e. to suppress the acid secretion in the stomach. Their mode of action is quite different. The H2 blockers help in blocking the histamine receptors in the cells that produce acid. Whereas, PPIs shut down the proton pumps.H2 blockers work within an hour of ingestion. Whereas, the PPIs can take time to show results. Also, PPIs have longer lasting effects than H2 blockers.

Which are Some Common Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Some of the clinically used PPIs are as follows:

  • Omeprazole (For eg. Gasec, Omez)
  • Dexlansoprazole (For eg. Dexilant)
  • Esomeprazole (For eg. Esotrex)
  • Lansoprazole (For eg. Prevacid, Inhibitol)
  • Pantoprazole (For eg. Protonix, Zurcal)
  • Rabeprazole (For eg. Rabelais, AcipHex)
  • Ilaprazole (For eg. Noltec)

Are there Any Side Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors?

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Since a decade many people have found PPIs as a miracle drug for severe heartburn. However, these drugs can have side effects that not many are aware. Some of the risks involved with the use of PPIs include short-term effects such as:

Some of the dangerous side effects of PPIs include:

  • Fracture risk – long term exposure to the drug can lead to osteoporosis, leading to fractures
  • Risk of Infection – increase in chances of diarrhea, pneumonia
  • Severe magnesium and vitamin B12 deficiency

Proton Pump Inhibitors work well for most people. They should be taken about 30 minutes before a meal. It is advisable to consult a doctor regarding the drugs before taking the pill. PPIs are most potent drugs for stomach acid problem. However, exert caution as studies have not yielded clear results as to its long term effects. For many, proton pump inhibitors are the best answer to their stomach acid problem.

Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: February 02, 2015