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How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Work?


Updated June 11, 2008

Question: How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Work?
Answer: Your stomach produces acid to help break down food so it is easier to digest. In certain circumstances, this acid can irritate the lining of your stomach and duodenum (the upper part of your small intestine), causing heartburn and even ulcers.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) work by blocking the production of stomach acid. The stomach contains a pump, called the gastric acid pump, which produces stomach acid. PPIs block the secretion of acid into the stomach by binding to these pumps. Decreasing the amount of stomach acid can help ulcers heal and reflux to subside.

Proton Pump Inhibitors include:

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


"Understanding Some of the Medications Often Prescribed for GERD & Ulcers." Common GI Problems: Volume 1. American College of Gastroenterology. 6 Jun 2008.

Frank L. Lanza, M.D., F.A.C.G., "A Guideline for the Treatment and Prevention of NSAID-Induced Ulcers." Vol. 93, No. 11, 1998. American College of Gastroenterology 6 Jun 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. 6 Jun 2008.

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