Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are amongst the most commonly prescribed drugs in infants and children with the last decades witnessing a dramatic rise in their utilization. Although PPIs are clearly effective when used appropriately and have been regarded as safe drugs, there is growing evidence regarding their potential adverse effects. Although, largely based on adult data it is clear that many of these are also relevant to pediatrics. PPI use potentially affects gastrointestinal microbiota composition and function, decreases defence against pathogens resulting in increased risk for infections, interferes with absorption of minerals and vitamins leading to specific deficiencies and increased risk for bone fractures as well as interferes with protein digestion resulting in increased risk of sensitization to allergens and development of allergic diseases and eosinophilic esophagitis. An association with gastric, liver and pancreatic cancer has also been inferred from adult data but is tenuous and causation is not proven. Overall, evidence for these adverse events is patchy and not always compelling. Overall, the use of PPIs, for selected indications with a good evidence base, has significant potential benefit but carries more caution in infants and children. Pediatricians should be aware of the concerns regarding the potential adverse events associated with their use.
Copyright © 2021 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.