Background and aims: Anecdotal reports and studies of select populations suggest that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) has increased since their introduction. We sought to determine recent trends in PPI use in the U.S. outpatient setting and characteristics of patients and physicians that may predict their use.
Methods: We used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) to estimate the prevalence of visits in which patients used PPIs from 2002 to 2009. We tested for associations between PPI use and patient, physician, and practice characteristics using data from 2009. We also estimated the prevalence of visits in which PPIs were used by patients without gastrointestinal complaints, diagnoses, or other indications for their use and tested for associations between patient and physician characteristics and PPI use in patients with no documented indication.
Results: PPIs were used in 4.0% of visits in 2002 and 9.2% in 2009 (p<0.001 for trend across years). The use of omeprazole (0.9% in 2002 to 3.9% in 2009, p<0.001), esomeprazole (0.9% in 2002 to 2.3% in 2009, p<0.001), and pantoprazole (0.6% in 2002 to 1.6% in 2009, p<0.001) increased significantly over the study period. Among visits by patients using PPIs, 62.9% documented no gastrointestinal complaints, gastrointestinal diagnoses, or other indicated reason for their use.
Conclusions: We found that PPI use increased significantly from 2002 to 2009 as did documented indications for their use. Newly-prescribed PPI use did not change from 2006 to 2009. More research is needed to determine whether PPIs are overused in the U.S. outpatient setting.