Review article: proton pump inhibitors and bacterial overgrowth

Authors


Dr C. Williams, Department of Microbiology, Yorkhill Hospital, Glasgow, G3, UK.
E-mail: kemc1n@clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Summary

Proton pump inhibitors are potent drugs producing profound suppression of gastric acid secretion. Consequently, they are highly effective at treating acid-related disorders.

There have been concerns that the suppression of gastric acid will alter the bacterial flora of the upper gastrointestinal tract and lead to complications such as cancer, enteric or other infections and malabsorption.

Studies have confirmed that proton pump inhibitors do alter the bacterial population but present evidence indicates that this only rarely leads to clinical disease.

As with all drugs, proton pump inhibitors should only be used for disorders shown clearly to benefit from the therapy and where the benefits will outweigh the small risks associated with them. Further research to more fully quantify the risk associated with PPI therapy is required.

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