If you suffer occasional heartburn, use an antacid for relief rather than a proton pump inhibitor. However, if you have chronic heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease or an ulcer, then proton pump inhibitors may prove to be the only effective source of relief.
Proton pump inhibitors are very effective in relieving heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and ulcer symptoms because they block an enzyme that’s required for making stomach acid. Therefore, stomach acid production is correspondingly limited.
H2 blockers likewise decrease the amount of acid as well, but not for as long. And in comparison, antacids neutralize stomach acid that’s already been generated.
Although antacids provide quick relief, they’re effect is short lived. A proton pump inhibitor does take longer to relieve your symptoms, yet once relieved their effect lasts significantly longer.
Because a proton pump inhibitor drastically reduces the amount of acid in your stomach which allows for healing of your ulcer or GERD caused esophagitis. And this form of relief is recommended for heartburn only after antacids or H2 blockers fail to deliver.
Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat peptic ulcers, which are primarily caused by a bacteria infection. However, they won’t cure your infection, so you’ll likely need to take an antibiotic conjointly. A proton pump inhibitor also relieves other digestive conditions that generate too much acid, i.e. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
In addition to GERD and ulcers, a proton pump inhibitor may be relief treatment for:
- corticosteroid effects ~ prednisone
- effects of NSAIDs ~ ibuprofen, naproxen
- cystic fibrosis caused intestinal malabsorption
Available proton pump inhibitors include:
- rabeprazole ~ Aciphex
- lansoprazole ~ Prevacid
- pantoprazole ~ Protonix
- esomeprazole ~ Nexium
- omeprazole ~ Prilosec, Zegarid
They all act similarly, thus their side effects are about same.
Proton pump inhibitor is relatively safe and its most common side effects include:
There are some extremely rare, yet more adverse, side effects you should be aware of, like:
- ulcerative colitis
- acute pancreatitis
- flu-like symptoms
- erythema multiforme
- drug induced hepatitis
- toxic epidermal necrolysis
- upper respiratory infection
- upper respiratory allergic reaction
Because stomach acid helps protect against bacterial and viral infections, taking proton pump inhibitors may increase your susceptibility, specifically for pneumonia and Clostridium difficile infection.
You should always discuss taking a proton pump inhibitor with your health care professional before taking them, especially if you:
- have severe liver disease
- have asthma, lung disease
- immunity compromised ~ HIV/AIDS
- over age 65 w/o pneumonia, influenza vaccination
And this drug can mask stomach cancer symptoms. You may also be at a higher risk for bone fractures because there’s a potential it interferes with calcium absorption, which can cause the side effect of weakened bones.
If you suffer from occasional heartburn, then OTC antacids or H2 blockers should be used initially for any drug taking attempts at relief.
Also, certain dietary and lifestyle measures can help alleviate heartburn, such as:
- no alcohol
- eat smaller meals
- maintain height appropriate weight
- don’t lye down for a couple of hours after a meal