Updated best practice statements regarding the use of proton pump inhibitors first detail what types of patients should be using short and long-term PPIs.

“When PPIs are appropriately prescribed, their benefits are likely to outweigh their risks [but] when PPIs are inappropriately prescribed, modest risks become important because there is no potential benefit,” wrote the authors of the updated guidance, published in the March issue of Gastroenterology.

“There is currently insufficient evidence to recommend specific strategies for mitigating PPI adverse effects,” noted Daniel E. Freedberg, MD , of Columbia University, New York, and his colleagues.

PPIs should be used on a short-term basis for individuals with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or conditions such as erosive esophagitis. These patients can also use PPIs for maintenance and occasional symptom management, but those with uncomplicated GERD should be weaned off PPIs if they respond favorably to them.

If a patient is unable to be weaned off PPIs, then ambulatory esophageal pH and impedance monitoring should be done, as this will allow clinicians to determine if the patient has a functional syndrome or GERD. Lifelong PPI treatment should not be considered until this step is taken, according to the new best practice statements.

“Short-term PPIs are highly effective for uncomplicated GERD [but] because patients who cannot reduce PPIs face lifelong therapy, we would consider testing for an acid-related disorder in this situation,” the authors explained. “However, there is no high-quality evidence on which to base this recommendation.”

Patients who have symptomatic GERD or Barrett’s esophagus, either symptomatic or asymptomatic, should be on long-term PPI treatment. Patients who are at a higher risk for NSAID-induced ulcer bleeding should be taking PPIs if they continue to take NSAIDs.

When recommending long-term PPI treatment for a patient, the patient need not use probiotics on a regular basis; there appears to be no need to routinely check the patient’s bone mineral density, serum creatinine, magnesium, or vitamin B12 level on a regular basis. In addition, they need not consume more than the Recommended Dietary Allowance of calcium, magnesium, or vitamin B12.

Finally, the authors state that “specific PPI formulations should not be selected based on potential risks.” This is because no evidence has been found indicating that PPI formulations can be ranked in any way based on risk.

These recommendations come from the AGA’s Clinical Practice Updates Committee, which pored through studies published through July 2016 in the PubMed, EMbase, and Cochrane library databases. Expert opinions and quality assessments on each study contributed to forming these best practice statements.

“In sum, the best current strategies for mitigating the potential risks of long-term PPIs are to avoid prescribing them when they are not indicated and to reduce them to their minimum dose when they are indicated,” Dr. Freedberg and his colleagues concluded.

The researchers did not report any relevant financial disclosures.


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