GPs urged to limit PPI use

GPs should limit the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for the treatment of indigestion after research revealed that inappropriate prescribing of the drugs was wasting the NHS £100 million a year.

Overuse of the drugs has also been linked to an increase in the prevalence of pneumonia and a doubling of the risk of infection with Clostridium difficile.

UK research found that prescriptions for PPIs have superseded those of other acid-inhibiting agents and account for 90 per cent of the NHS drug budget for the treatment of dyspepsia.

But chairman of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology Dr Richard Stevens said: 'PPIs are cheap to prescribe, so I am not sure that huge savings will be made from limiting their use.'

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

BMJ Online 2008

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