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How Are Proton Pump Inhibitors Different from H2 Blockers?


Updated May 15, 2014

Question: How Are Proton Pump Inhibitors Different from H2 Blockers?
Answer: Both Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 Blockers suppress gastric acid secretion. They are, however, different in how they do this. While PPIs shut down the cell pumps that maintain the acidic environment in the stomach, H2 Blockers work by blocking signals generated by histamine receptors on cells that are responsible for acid secretion.

PPIs have a delayed onset of action, while H2 blockers begin working within an hour. PPIs work for a longer period of time; most last up to 24 hours, and the effects may last up to three days. H2 Blockers, however, usually only work up to 12 hours.

Proton Pump Inhibitors include:

H2 blockers include:

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


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

"Pharmacodynamic Aspects of Hz-Blockers versus proton Pump Inhibitors." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 6 Jun 2008

"Understanding Some of the Medications Often Prescribed for GERD & Ulcers." Common GI Problems: Volume 1. 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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