Blog / Ppis Truths & Myths
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the production of acid by blocking an enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. PPIs are effective at reducing some of the symptoms of reflux like heartburn, this is because heartburn is caused when stomach acid enters the oeosophagus. By reducing stomach acidity, this reduces pain when the stomach contents come into contact with the oeosophagus. There are many kinds of PPIs including omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole and pantoprazole they are sold under various brand names.
What are the common myths around PPIs?
PPIs cure reflux
Reflux is caused because the valve at the bottom of the oesophagus is weak, allowing stomach contents in the oesophagus and PPIs have no effect on this. So, whilst PPIs can be effective in controlling symptoms for many patients, PPIs certainly do not cure reflux.
PPIs are safe
PPIs have been in use for many years and are generally considered safe. However, in recent years there are have quite a few clinical studies that show associations between PPIs use and heart disease, kidney disease, dementia, and osteoporosis. These studies are not conclusive, and more research needs to be done.
PPIs are an over the counter medicine
There are some low strength PPIs available over the counter. These are designed to be taken occasionally, if a patient is suffering regular symptoms they should go and see their GP.
I can take PPIs long term
Many patients take PPIs for years and get good relief from their reflux symptoms, however interestingly none of the PPIs are licensed for more than 28 days continuous use and most doctor’s organisations recommend regular reviews of patients on long term medicines.
If you’re worried about your use of PPIs, or if your symptoms are not well controlled, please get in touch with RefluxUK, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all aspects of reflux symptoms.