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Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for Peptic Ulcer Disease

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for Peptic Ulcer Disease

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
esomeprazole Nexium
esomeprazole and naproxen Vimovo
lansoprazole Prevacid
omeprazole Prilosec, Zegerid
rabeprazole Aciphex

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are usually taken one time a day. They are sometimes taken two times a day if a stronger dose is needed.

How It Works

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) greatly reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach, which in turn reduces irritation of the stomach lining and allows an ulcer to heal.

When used with antibiotics, PPIs also help treat Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection.

Why It Is Used

Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat ulcers. They provide short-term (2 to 8 weeks) treatment for ulcers in the stomach and in the upper small intestine.

PPIs are also used to prevent ulcers and problems from ulcers (such as bleeding) in people who take NSAIDs long-term (for example, for arthritis).

How Well It Works

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can block more than 90% of stomach acid production. These medicines work better than antacids or H2 blockers to prevent and treat ulcers.

Most ulcers heal within 4 weeks, although some people may need up to 4 more weeks of treatment to complete healing. In rare cases, large ulcers need even longer treatment.

These medicines have been shown to help prevent ulcers and problems from ulcers (such as bleeding) in people who take NSAIDs long-term. 1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Diarrhea that gets worse or lasts longer than a few days.
  • Hives.
  • Skin rash or itching.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Proton pump inhibitors work best when they are taken 30 minutes before your first meal (for example, breakfast). If taking one pill before breakfast does not completely relieve your symptoms, talk to your doctor about taking another pill before dinner.

It may take a few days for proton pump inhibitors to help your symptoms. You can take antacids to help with your symptoms during this time, unless your doctor has told you not to.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Regula J, et al. (2006). Prevention of NSAID-associated gastrointestinal lesions: A comparison study pantoprazole versus omeprazole. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 101(8): 1747–1755.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Last Revised May 10, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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