Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

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Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(1):online

See related article on proton pump inhibitors.

What are proton pump inhibitors?

Proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs, are medicines used to treat acid reflux and stomach ulcers.

What side effects can they cause?

Using PPIs for too long can lead to side effects, such as:

  • Hip fracture

  • Pneumonia

  • Diarrhea from an infection

  • Rebound indigestion (worsened symptoms after you stop using PPIs)

Talk to your doctor about how long you should take a PPI, especially if it was first prescribed in the hospital or by another doctor.

Can I take other medicines if I am taking a PPI?

PPIs can affect how other medicines work. These medicines include clopidogrel (brand name: Plavix), which prevents blood clots, and iron supplements. Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking these medicines.

Are there other ways to treat my symptoms?

There are over-the-counter medicines you can take for acid reflux or stomach ulcers. They are called H2 blockers (examples: Pepcid, Tagamet, Zantac). Talk to your doctor about whether they can help your symptoms.

Other ways to treat reflux symptoms include changing your diet. You should avoid alcohol, peppermint, caffeine, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (one brand: Motrin). Also, do not smoke, exercise a lot after eating, or eat right before bedtime.

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