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Proton Pump Inhibitor Use in Older Adults: Long-Term Risks and Steps for Deprescribing

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Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are commonly prescribed for treatment of acid-related gastrointestinal disorders. PPI use is approved for a duration of 2 to 12 weeks, depending on complication and severity. Many users lack an appropriate indication for continued therapy past the recommended duration. Long-term PPI use is associated with several adverse drug events, including acute interstitial nephritis, fractures, and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD). Cautious prescribing and regular monitoring is essential, especially for older adults, as they may be at higher risk for these adverse effects. Deprescribing, defined as lowering dosage, switching to as-needed use, or complete discontinuation, should be considered for many PPI users. Patient education is critical. Alternative therapy considerations include histamine-2-receptor antagonists, as they are found to be associated with reduced CDAD and fracture events. Additional strategies include tapering off PPIs and modifying lifestyle to reduce the potential rebound hypersecretion that may occur as a result of discontinuation. The most significant lifestyle modification is weight loss. Additional lifestyle interventions include upright head of bed elevation, avoiding meals close to bedtime, and avoiding high-fat meals within two to three hours of reclining.

Keywords: Acute interstitial nephritis; C. difficile; Deprescribing; Fractures; Geriatric; Older adults; PPI; Proton pump inhibitors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 2: Department of Pharmacy: Clinical and Administrative Sciences, University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy.

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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