Proton Pump Inhibitor Definition

Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) Medications- medications that suppress gastric acid production in the stomach. Commonly prescribed PPIs available in the United States include

  • esomeprazole (Nexium)
  • lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • rabeprazole (Aciphex)

How These Medications Work

Proton Pump Inhibitor work by blocking the enzyme system that causes the parietal cells in the stomach’s lining(gastric mucosa), called proton pumps, to produce and release hydrochloric acid. PPIs can block up to 99 percent of gastric acid production. PPIs also appear to slow the ability of helicobacter pylori bacteria to move, reducing their ability to cause infection. H. pylori infection is responsible for up to 80 percent of ulcers.

Therapeutic Applications

Doctors prescribe PPIs to treat peptic ulcer diseasegastroesophageal reflux disorder (gerd), and other conditions in which gastric acid becomes an irritation that causes symptoms such as inflammation and pain. PPIs are intended for relatively short-term use, during the healing phase of damaged gastrointestinal mucosa. After healing is complete, doctors recommend dietary modifications and h2 antagonist (blocker) medications or antacids for people who still need to suppress gastric acid.

Risks and Side Effects

PPIs have relatively few side effects or risks. Among the most common are headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. No one PPI is more likely than another to cause side effects. Pregnant women should not take PPIs because researchers do not yet know whether these medications can harm the developing fetus.


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