Consequences of long-term proton pump blockade: insights from studies of patients with gastrinomas

Robert T Jensen
Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology 2006, 98 (1): 4-19
Proton pump inhibitors are being increasingly used and for longer periods of time, especially in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Each of these trends has led to numerous studies and reviews of the potential risk-benefit ratio of the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors. Both long-term effects of hypergastrinaemia due to the profound acid suppression caused by proton pump inhibitors as well as the effects of hypo-/achlorhydria per se have been raised and studied. Potential areas of concern that have been raised in the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors, which could alter this risk-benefit ratio include: gastric carcinoid formation; the development of rebound acid hypersecretion when proton pump inhibitor treatment is stopped; the development of tolerance; increased oxyntic gastritis in H. pylori patients and the possibility of increasing the risk of gastric cancer; the possible stimulation of growth of non-gastric tumours due to hypergastrinaemia; and the possible effect of the hypo/achlorhydria on nutrient absorption, particularly iron and vitamin B12. Because few patients with idiopathic gastro-oesophageal reflux disease/peptic ulcer disease have been treated long-term (i.e., >10 years), there is little known to address the above areas of potential concern. Most patients with gastrinomas with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome have life-long hypergastrinaemia, require continuous proton pump inhibitors treatment and a number of studies report results of >5-10 years of tratment and follow-up. Therefore, an analysis of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome patients can provide important insights into some of the safety concerns raised above. In this paper, results from studies of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome patients and other recent studies dealing with the safety concerns above, are briefly reviewed.

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