PPI Side Effects

PPI side effects; we've all heard the stories and warnings. But what's really behind these warnings and are PPIs really dangerous?

There has been a lot of controversy about the use of proton pump inhibitors for the treatment of infant GERD. Something that we should all keep in mind before using any drugs long-term is that anything you take over a period of 20 years or more has a great likelihood of effecting our bodies of any age in a negative way. That is true for PPIs as well.


There have been multiple studies done showing long-term effects of use and this is how those studies were conducted.

  • They were done on Veterans. It seems that these subjects are always the human demographic we turn to when studies need to be done. They also tend to be (generally speaking, course!) a group that has progressed in age (typically 60 years or older), have lead very compromising lifestyles (smoking, drinking and other medications) and the use of these PPIs were over a period of 20 plus years.
  • The claim that a child can acquire bone fractures comes from very old data and from non prospective study. Only prospective studies can show cause and effect. Retrospective studies looks back at already existing data. It can not show cause and effect.  All Ped GI groups agree with this in published recommendations.

Remember that only an infant, toddler or young child should be treated with a medicine if they have REFLUX DISEASE. Infants showing signs of reflux should not be treated. Not until it becomes a disease or infant GERD.

Risk verses benefit should be considered anytime any medicine is used to treat an illness. The risk of PPI is small compared to risk of untreated reflux disease. You can read more about the long-term effects of none treatment in this artcle about I Don't Want To Medicate My Baby.