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What Are the Side Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitors?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 April 2014
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The side effects of proton pump inhibitors are generally mild, and they will vary, depending on the specific brand the patient is using. These types of medications are often taken to treat symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), excess stomach acid, and they may also help prevent or treat gastric ulcers. They work by decreasing the amount of acid in the stomach. A few examples of proton pump inhibitor drugs include omeprazole, esomeprazole, and raberprazole.

Some of the minor side effects of proton pump inhibitors can include nausea, stomach upset, and flatulence. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur, or a patient may experience constipation. Some proton pump inhibitors may also cause a fever or cold symptoms, such as a sore throat, sneezing, and a runny nose. Other patients have reported headaches, drowsiness, and a dry mouth. If any of these side effects is persistent or becomes more severe, patients should discuss it with the prescribing physician.

It is possible for some patients to suffer an allergic reaction to a proton pump inhibitor. This requires urgent medical care, and may be indicated by swelling of the throat, lips, or face. Additional signs of an allergic reaction can include hives, a skin rash, and difficulty breathing.

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Other rare but serious side effects of proton pump inhibitors may include seizures, jerky muscle movements, and feeling extremely weak or limp. Muscle cramps, a rapid or uneven heartbeat, and feeling jittery may also occur. Some people have also reported confusion, dizziness, and a cough, along with a choking sensation.

Patients should follow all dosage instructions carefully, because it is possible to overdose on these drugs. Some of the possible overdose side effects of proton pump inhibitors may include blurred vision, rapid heartbeat, and drowsiness. Nausea, vomiting, and a dry mouth may occur, along with a headache and excessive sweating.

Those taking a proton pump inhibitor should be aware that with use over a long period of time or high dosages, this drug can increase the chance of fractures that are related to osteoporosis. The risk of this complication generally rises in adults who are 50 years or older. These fractures may especially occur in the spine, hip, and wrist.

To decrease the risks of side effects of proton pump inhibitors, patients should disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss this with their doctors. It may be dangerous to take these drugs if the patient has stomach pain, frequent chest pain, or nausea, along with vomiting. Interactions with other medicines and supplements can occur, particularly with blood thinners, diuretics, and iron.

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