Which classes of acid-suppressing medications are currently used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease (PUD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: BS Anand, MD; Chief Editor: Philip O Katz, MD, FACP, FACG  more...
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Two classes of acid-suppressing medications currently in use are histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) and PPIs. [48] Both classes are available in intravenous and oral preparations. Examples of H2RAs include cimetidine, famotidine, and nizatidine. Examples of PPIs include omeprazole, pantoprazole, lansoprazole, and rabeprazole.

H2RAs are an older class of medications, and in the setting of an actively bleeding duodenal ulcer, their use has been largely superseded by the use of PPIs. Many gastroenterologists assert that intravenous PPI therapy maintains hemostasis more effectively than intravenous H2RA. Thus, intravenous H2RA no longer has a role in the management of bleeding peptic ulcers. [49]

PPIs have a very good safety profile, although attention must continue to be focused on adverse effects, especially with long-term and/or high-dose therapy, such as Clostridium difficile infection, community-acquired pneumonia, hip fracture, and vitamin B12 deficiency. [50] Long-term use of PPIs is also associated with decreased absorption of some medications. PPIs impair gastric secretion of acid; thus, absorption of any medication that depends on gastric acidity, such as ketoconazole and iron salt, is impaired with long-term PPI therapy. In addition, achlorhydria (absence of intragastric acidity) may be associated with iron deficiency anemia, because the ferric form of iron must be converted to the ferrous form by gastric acid. Most iron absorbed is in the ferrous form.

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