Proton pump inhibitors side effects can range from highly uncomfortable to very serious. Individuals who use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) should be aware of the range of potential side effects that PPI use can cause.

WHAT ARE PPIS?

PPIs are a type of drug first developed in the 1980s and, as of 2016, are used by around 15 million people in the United States alone. The primary purpose for these drugs is significant and long-lasting reduction of the production of stomach acid (gastric acid).

PPI users may know these drugs under the names Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole), Nexium (Esomeprazole), Prevacid (Lansoprazole), Prilosec (Omeprazole), Protonix (Pantoprazole), and Aciphex (Rabeprazole). PPIs may be taken orally in pill form or as a liquid.

Today these drugs are a potent means of keeping stomach acid production down, superseding similar medications that were once more common. PPIs are commonly prescribed for diseases including dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease, gastrinomas, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, stress gastritis, eosinophilic esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and various others.

PPIs are available via prescription and over-the-counter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that over-the-counter PPIs should not be used for more than three courses a year, restricted to fourteen days each.

WHAT ARE PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS SIDE EFFECTS?

PPIs can have serious side-effects, including increased vulnerability to infections and nutritional deficiencies. As a result, individuals taking PPIs are at an increased risk of salmonella, Clostridium difficile, and possibly pneumonia.

A reduction of stomach acid can also mean problems with digestion. If stomach acid levels get too low, it can be difficult for users to get the necessary nutrients, minerals, and vitamins they need from food. This may increase their risk of fractured bones.

Some researchers have recently expressed concern about the potential of an increased risk of dementia among PPI users. The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Bonn conducted a study of 73,679 individuals 75 years of age and older. According to their results, regular users of PPIs in the study had at least a 44% increased risk of dementia. While researchers are unclear on what exactly may cause this increased risk, it shouldn’t be ignored.

These are just a few examples of the side-effects experienced by some PPI users. Individuals who have attempted to stop using PPIs have also reported difficulties. This is primarily due to a marked surge of stomach acids that users experience when discontinuing use of the drugs.