Risks Associated with Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Proton Pump Inhibitors

What are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Proton Pump Inhibitors, or PPIs for short, are a type of drug used to reduce acid production. The PPIs block the enzyme found in the stomach wall where acid is produced. They are often prescribed for those who suffer from:

  • Ulcers, both in the esophagus and the stomach
  • Gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD)
  • H. pylori bacterial infections (H. pylori causes ulcers)

PPIs that you can purchase over-the-counter include omeprazole (Prilosec) and esomeprazole (Nexium).

Side effects of PPIs

Generally patients tolerate PPIs well, but some common side effects could include:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive gas
  • Fever
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Headache

More serious risks with PPIs

Recent studies show the possibility of more serious risks associated with PPIs. Our specialists and providers at Elite Medicine Clinics DFW understand these risks and want our patients to also understand them.

Using high doses of PPIs for a year or more can increase the risk of fractures associated with osteoporosis. Lengthy use can also negatively affect the absorption of Vitamin B12, a critically important vitamin for brain and nervous system function.

Many organs can be affected by extended use of PPIs, and research shows connections between the use of PPIs and risks of kidney diseases, including chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. Another serious risk associated with PPI use is recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. Diff.), a bacterial infection of the colon. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is yet another painful and dangerous risk associated with PPI.

We also want you to understand that two other areas of major concern associated with PPI use include increased risk of heart attacks and low levels of magnesium, also known as hypomagnesemia. Hypomagnesemia can cause weakness, lethargy, personality changes, nausea, vomiting, and minor muscle spasms.

Even more seriously, studies show a strong connection between prolonged PPI use and increased risk of death. Patients taking PPIs because of gastrointestinal conditions experienced increased death risk.

Our healthcare team at Elite Medicine Clinics DFW strongly recommends that PPIs only be used for a minimal amount of time to reduce the risk of the serious side effects. If you are interested in learning about alternatives to PPIs, please call us to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.