Andrea M. Hartley CPhT
Pharmacy Technician / Central Supply Manager
The GRAND of Dublin
PPIs: Something To Think About
Do you have one of these PPIs in your medicine cabinet?
- Prilosec (omeprazole), available as an OTC and prescription
- Nexium (esomeprazole), available as an OTC and prescription
- Prevacid (lansoprazole), available as an OTC and prescription
- Zegerid (omeprazole & sodium bicarbonate), OTC only
- Protonix (pantoprazole), prescription only
- Aciphex (rabeprazole), prescription only
- Dexilant (dexlansoprazole), prescription only
20-30% of Americans use a PPI (proton Pump Inhibitor) to manage symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), acid reflux, frequent heartburn and ulcer symptoms, and several other indications. These medications have been a mainstay in treatment of stomach acid-related disorders since their introduction in 1989. In layman’s terms, they work by binding to the proton pumps in the cells of our gastric glands and causing them to reduce acid secretion.
Their safety and efficacy have made PPIs one of the most prescribed medications. The first PPI was approved for over-the-counter sales in 2003, allowing the convenience of self-treatment. However, the approval for OTC sales has also contributed to the overuse & misuse of PPIs.
Many people who don’t necessarily need PPIs are using them and this can lead to problems due to a higher risk of bone fracture and higher risk of obtaining certain bacterial infections, among other things.
If you use a PPI, consider talking to your doctor about it at your next appointment. Some of the questions that patients need to ask their physicians are: Should I be taking this? Would a lower dose be effective? Is there an alternative to this medication? Do the risks outweigh the benefits in my situation? Find out if another medication, such as an antacid (Tums, Mylanta, Maalox etc.) or H2 blocker (Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, Axid) might be better for you to use. Or there may be some lifestyle changes you could try to reduce your symptoms.
If you use a PPI, it’s definitely something to think about.