If you’re one of the millions of Americans that suffer from heartburn, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may seem like your only treatment option. Many ads on TV or in magazines promote them and encourage you to use them. But most people do not need to take a PPI, and long-term use of these drugs can cause other medical issues. Hospitality Rx wants to make sure you have all the information you need to decide if a PPI is right for you.
PPIs are medicines that decrease the amount of acid your stomach makes. These pills help prevent heartburn and let your esophagus heal. You can get PPIs over-the-counter or through a prescription from your doctor.
|Your PPI options|
|Prescription||Over the counter|
|omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate|
PPIs are used treat several gastric disorders, including:
Maybe. Not everyone who suffers from heartburn needs a PPI. If you have heartburn but have not been diagnosed with GERD, you can try over-the-counter antacids (Maalox, Mylanta, or Rolaids) OR H2 blockers (Zantac, Pepcid, or Axid). These medicines also decrease the amount of acid in your stomach. The Food and Drug administration (FDA) recommends that you only use these products for 2 weeks. If you continue to have heartburn after 2 weeks of treatment, then please see your doctor.
Yes. PPIs can decrease your absorption of vitamins and minerals (calcium, B12, iron, magnesium). They can also increase your risk for bone fractures, pneumonia, enteric infections, Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, and the formation of gastric polyps.
No! These drugs decrease stomach acid in a different way than PPIs do. So they don’t have the same long-term risks.
Talk to your doctor to see if a PPI is right for you or if a different, safer medicine may treat your illness. If you do need long-term treatment for GERD, use PPIs or H2 receptor blockers at the lowest dose needed to treat your illness.
The content on the Hospitality Rx website is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional about any medical questions or conditions.