Long Term Proton Pump Inhibitor Use

Long Term Proton Pump Inhibitor Use

Traditionally proton pump inhibitors (PPI) have been used for a variety of problems related to the gastrointestinal system. Long term proton pump inhibitor use is starting to be a major concern.

A patient will present to a doctor’s office, pharmacy, or nurse or even consult an online doctor service with complaints of heartburn. The response from different healthcare professionals can be as diverse as the many products that are out there.

Let’s start with the most common. Pharmacists tend to lean towards drugs called H2 Blockers as a first resort, which is after heartburn tablets have shown to be ineffective. But if the patient has already tried an H2 Blocker such as Zantac, they are pretty much ready something more effective. Pharmacists are not shy about then recommending OTC products such as Prilosec OTC which is a PPI.

The second type of healthcare workers to be consulted is doctors. Usually this is done after the patient has tried everything possible at the pharmacy. But having tried the most effective drug such as Prilosec PPI, doctors really have few options besides surgery available to them other than prolonging the PII drug use.

And that’s where the problem lies, especially since PPI’s are notorious for causing community acquired pneumonia and a bacterial stomach infection called C. Difficile. C. Difficile is difficult to treat without antibiotics and can require hospitalization.

So why are doctors prescribing something they know has long term negative health effects on their patients? The answer is that they simply don’t have many options after a patient has already tried heartburn tablets, H2 Blockers, and finally PPI’s.

So what should patients do? The answer is to find a doctor who specializes in treating gastrointestinal disorders. This is the most effective way to not only get lasting help but also reduce your chances of acquiring dangerous side effects.  It is also the best way to avoid long term proton pump inhibitor use.

Don’t forget to ask your pharmacist about PPI’s. Here’s a link to an article about the benefits of consulting your pharmacist: http://justhealthexperts.com/healtharticles/benefits-of-consulting-a-pharmacist/

You may also want to look at some other websites such www.webmd.com, www.fda.gov, www.uptodate.com, and www.drugs.com