[Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors: who needs prophylaxis?]

M Scheurlen
Der Internist 2013, 54 (3): 366-72
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) are among the most frequently prescribed drugs worldwide. Recently, several side effects of chronic PPI therapy have been identified. Reduced intestinal absorption of vitamin B12 or calcium, an increased rate of bone fractures, an interference with the metabolism of other drugs (e.g., clopidogrel), and an increased incidence of Clostridium difficile-associated colitis are discussed. So far, data on such side effects of PPI are mainly supported by retrospective and/or uncontrolled studies. Therefore, a definitive estimation of the real risk of long-term PPI medication is not yet possible. However, since chronic treatment with PPI may lead to severe side effects, it is necessary to keep the established indications for these drugs (peptic ulcer therapy, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, prophylaxis of mucosal lesions by potentially ulcerogenic drugs) in mind. PPI therapy as stress ulcer prophylaxis should be confined to risk groups and risk situations. Long-term treatment with PPI requires repeated confirmation of a persisting indication, choice of the lowest effective dose, and-if applicable-an interval or "on demand" treatment.

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