Heartburn isn’t fun—anyone who has had it will tell you that it can be very painful. Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion or acid reflux, is a burning sensation in the central chest or upper central abdomen. The pain sometimes rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat or angle of the jaw.
Physicians will often prescribe a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) to treat chronic heartburn symptoms for their patients. However, these medications are also available over-the-counter, without the careful watch of a physician. Unfortunately, this could be potentially dangerous.
In 2010, the FDA issued a safety announcement about PPI’s that stated while PPI’s are effective in treating a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, the long-term use of PPI’s may be harmful to the body.
The FDA wants consumers and healthcare professionals to be aware that for many conditions including simple heartburn, PPI’s should only be taken as directed for 14 days, no more than three 14-day treatment courses in one year. Chronic daily use of PPI’s should be limited to serious gastrointestinal disorders such as recurrent bleeding stomach ulcers or erosive esophagitis. If you are taking an over-the-counter PPI, you should carefully read and follow the enclosed instructions.
At Tria Health, our pharmacists discuss all medications a patient may be taking—both prescription and over-the-counter. Our pharmacists review PPI use to determine appropriateness of therapy and identify patients that are good candidates for drug discontinuation. We then work with their physicians to confirm if discontinuation is appropriate and recommend alternative treatment options, when needed.
Your friends at Tria Health want to ensure your safety. If you have been taking a PPI long-term, please talk to your physician or pharmacist.