How effective are proton pump inhibitors?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

PPIs are preferred as the first treatment for acid reflux disease when symptoms become increasingly troublesome. A daily dose of a PPI can completely relieve heartburn symptoms within 8 weeks. PPIs suppress stomach acid for up to 14 hours a day, which is longer than the effects of H2 blockers. However, PPIs cannot reduce acid in the stomach for a full 24 hours. Some people need a higher dose or 2 doses daily to get symptom relief. It is important to take PPIs every day and as directed.

Many people with acid reflux disease have a return of symptoms after stopping PPI therapy. Some people can control their symptoms with antacids and lifestyle changes. Others need to take PPIs over the long term. If this is necessary, the drug should be taken at the lowest effective dose, or only when needed.

PPIs promote healing in more than 90% of people with mild or moderate inflammation of the esophagus. They are effective in about 80% of people with severe inflammation. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

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