How safe are proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)?

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Talking about a drug being “safe” is relative. Generally, no drug should be taken continuously without a doctor’s supervision. Some people with conditions like Zollinger-Ellison syndrome or Barrett’s esophagus need acid control that a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) provides. However, many people take PPIs for long periods for heart burn without a prescription when it’s not necessary. PPIs taken for a long time (longer than a year) have been implicated in B-12 deficiency and increased fracture risk because stomach acid is needed to absorb some nutrients.

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