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How Are H2 Blockers Different from Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)?

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Updated April 24, 2008

Question: How Are H2 Blockers Different from Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)?
Answer:

Both PPIs and H2 blockers suppress gastric acid secretion, but at different stages of production. While histamine blockers block one of the first stimuli for acid production, PPIs block the final step in the pathway of acid secretion in the stomach, resulting in greater suppression of acid. PPIs shut down the proton pumps in the stomach; H2 blockers work by blocking the histamine receptors in acid producing cells in the stomach. PPIs have a delayed onset of action, while H2 blockers begin working within an hour. PPIs work for a longer period of time: Most work up to 24 hours and their effects may last up to three days. H2 blockers, however, usually only work up to 12 hours.

The different types of H2 blockers are:

For more information on these medications, and others, please go to Drugs A to Z.

Sources:

"Pharmacodynamic Aspects of Hz-Blockers versus proton Pump Inhibitors." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 22 Apr 2008.

"Understanding Some of the Medications Often Prescribed for GERD & Ulcers." Common GI Problems: Volume 1. American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

Kenneth R. DeVault M.D., F.A.C.G., and Donald O. Castell M.D., M.A.C.G., "Updated Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease." doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2005.41217.x. American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

"Effectiveness of Therapies for GERD" American College of Gastroenterology. 22 Apr 2008.

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