Proton pump inhibitors: use and misuse in the clinical setting

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2018 Nov;11(11):1123-1134. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2018.1531703. Epub 2018 Oct 10.


The introduction of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) into clinical practice has greatly improved our therapeutic approach to acid-related diseases for their efficacy and safety. Areas Covered: The following evidence-based indications for PPI use are acknowledged by many scientific societies: treatment of the various forms and complications of gastroesophageal reflux disease, eradication of H. pylori infection in combination with two or more antibiotics, short- and long-term therapy of H. pylori-negative peptic ulcers, healing, and prevention of NSAID/COXIB-associated gastric ulcers, co-therapy with endoscopic procedures to control upper digestive bleeding and medical treatment of Zollinger Ellison syndrome. Expert Commentary: Despite the above well-defined indications, however, the use of PPIs continues to grow every year in both western and eastern countries and the endless expansion of the PPI market has created important problems for many regulatory authorities for two relevant features: the progressive increase of the costs of therapy and the greater potential harms for the patients. The major reasons for the misuse of PPIs are the prevention of gastro-duodenal ulcers in patients without risk factors and the stress ulcer prophylaxis in non-intensive care units, steroid therapy alone, anti-platelet or anti-coagulant treatment in patients without risk of gastric injury and the overtreatment of functional dyspepsia.

Keywords: Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs); acid-related diseases; appropriate use; misuse; overprescription.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors