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Proton pump inhibitors are valuable treatment options for gastric acid associated diseases, such as peptic ulcer disease or reflux diseases. Due to their irreversible inhibition of the proton pumps in the parietal cells of the stomach, gastric acid secretion can be effectively reduced. With the reduction in gastric acid, however, proton pump inhibitors also block a highly conserved, crucial part of the unspecific immune system. The gastric barrier protects the body - and here mainly the intestinal microbiome - from food-borne pathogens and oral bacteria that can reach more distal parts of the gastrointestinal tract during proton pump inhibitor therapy. Resulting changes in the intestinal microbiome, such as the reduction in microbial diversity or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, can be linked to side effects of (long-term) proton pump inhibitor therapy, such as the increased risk of Clostridium difficile infections or gastrointestinal discomfort. In liver cirrhosis patients, the increase in oral bacteria in the intestine is associated with intestinal inflammation and permeability, and can even be used as a biomarker for 3-year liver related mortality. Therefore, microbiome-mediated side effects should be included in the risk assessment of proton pump inhibitor therapy and the evaluation of potential alternatives. Thieme. All rights reserved.


Angela Horvath, Vanessa Stadlbauer. Proton Pump Inhibitors and their Microbiome-Mediated Side Effects]. Zentralblatt fur Chirurgie. 2021 Apr;146(2):165-169

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PMID: 33327006

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