Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications that work by reducing the amount of stomach acid produced by glands in the lining of the stomach.
How PPIs Help You
Proton pump inhibitors are used to:
- Relieves symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is a condition in which food or liquid moves up from the stomach into the oesophagus (the tube that leads from the mouth to the stomach).
- Treat a duodenal or stomach (gastric) ulcer.
- Treat damage to the lower oesophagus caused by acid reflux.
Types of PPIs
There are many names and brands of PPIs. Most work just as well. Side effects can vary from drug to drug.
- Omeprazole (Prilosec), also available over the counter (without a prescription)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium), also available without a prescription (without a prescription)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid), also available without a prescription (without a prescription)
- Rabeprazole (AcipHex)
- Pantoprazole (Protonix)
- Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant)
- Zegerid (omeprazole with baking soda), also available over the counter (without a prescription)
Taking your PPI
PPIs are taken orally. They are available in the form of tablets or capsules. These medications are usually taken 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. You can buy some brands of PPIs at the store without a prescription. Talk to your health care provider if you find that you have to take these medications on most days.
Some people who have acid reflux may need to take PPIs every day. Others can control symptoms with a PPI every other day. If you have a peptic ulcer, your doctor may prescribe PPIs along with 2 or 3 other medications for up to 2 weeks. Or your provider may ask you to take these drugs for 8 weeks.
If your provider prescribes these drugs:
- Take all of your medications as directed.
- Try to take them at the same time every day.
- Don’t stop taking your medications without talking to your provider first. Follow up with your provider regularly.
- Plan ahead so you don’t run out of medications. Make sure you have enough with you when you travel.
Side effects of PPIs are rare. You may have a headache, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, or itching. Ask your provider about possible concerns with long-term use, such as infections and bone fractures. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, talk to your provider before taking these medications. Tell your doctor if you are also taking any other medicines. PPIs can change the way certain medications work, including some anti-seizure medications and blood thinners such as warfarin or clopidogrel (Plavix).
When to call the doctor
Call your provider if:
- You have side effects from these medicines.
- You are having other unusual symptoms.
- Your symptoms do not improve