What are proton pump inhibitors?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) block the release of acid by cells that line the stomach. PPIs are the most effective drugs for treating acid reflux disease. People with mild or occasional symptoms can use PPIs on an as-needed basis. A daily PPI is usually necessary for those with continuous symptoms or inflammation of the esophagus.

PPIs available in the US include dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex). Omeprazole, lansoprazole, and esomeprazole are available in an over-the-counter form. All PPIs are equally effective at relieving symptoms and reducing inflammation of the esophagus.

Talk to a doctor before taking an over-the-counter PPI for longer than recommended. People with long-term heartburn are at risk for complications of acid reflux. They may also have other conditions not yet diagnosed. 

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. 

Dr. Gary W. Falk, MD

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications prescribed for patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). PPIs work by blocking excess gastric acid production and are the most effective class of medications for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

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