Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are among the most commonly used drugs in the world. People take PPI drugs to treat gastrointestinal symptoms such as heartburn and oesophageal inflammation. PPIs are highly effective, but it is important to realise this is not the only option in treating acid reflux or oesophagitis. Other pharmacological agents such as H2 blockers (Ranitidine) are also very effective as are well non-medical treatments such as radical lifestyle alteration. Lifestyle changes such as modifying one’s diet, increased daily exercise activities and a dedicated weight reduction programme (if appropriate) have all shown tremendous benefits in treating acid-reflux, oesophagitis and GORD.
Proton pump inhibitors are powerful acid-reducing drugs. PPI drugs target proton pumps in the stomach (parietal cells). The blockage of these pumps reduces the amount of acid these pumps produce. This in-effect reduces the amount of acid in the stomach.
There are eight brand name proton pump inhibitors available, they are also available in generic form. All PPI drugs are available in prescription strength.
Nexium is the biggest selling PPI. Nexium is also one of the best-selling drugs of all time. AstraZeneca reported a staggering $72.5 billion in sales for Nexium between 1992 and 2017.
Dosage varies with each PPI and the condition it is being used to treat. A doctor will advise a patient on the dose needed and how often a patient should take a PPI drug.
Patients should ask their doctor when to take a PPI. Generally, doctors tell patients to take PPIs on an empty stomach — about 30 minutes before a meal. Often this will be first thing in the morning. Some patients take a second dose before dinner when a doctor deems it necessary. Always take it with a large glass of water.
Proton pump Inhibitor side effects. The most common side effects include constipation, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting. For information on serious side-effects read the manufacturers list.
Proton pump inhibitors may cause drug interactions with other medicines. Some of these may be minor. But some PPI interaction can be serious. Always tell their doctor about all other drugs they are taking before using PPIs.
Nexium (esomeprazole) is as effective as other PPIs in most treatments. Studies have found it may be better than other PPIs at healing oesophagitis symptoms at four to eight weeks. This applied only to moderate to severe cases.
A study found Omeprazole and Rabeprazole performed better than other PPI drugs at controlling GORD. They both worked better than other PPIs in high doses. Another study found older patients responded better to the Omeprazole and Rabeprazole than they did to other PPIs.