What is a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)?

Acid controllers (H2 receptor blockers) and proton pump inhibitors can both help decrease the amount of stomach acid your body produces. Unlike antacids, which treat the symptoms of heartburn by simply neutralizing existing acid, acid controllers and PPIs treat the issue at the source, so you don’t feel the effects of stomach acid flowing into your esophagus. There are a few key differences between the two.

Acid Controllers/H2 BlockersProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
Block histamine-2, just one of the several acid-producing stimuli in the stomachBlock acid at the proton pump, making PPIs more effective than H2 blockers at reducing acid production
Decreases stomach acid production for 8 hoursReduce stomach acid for 24 hours, all day and all night
Relieve heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomachRecommended to treat frequent heartburn (heartburn occurring more than twice a week)
Begin working in 15-30 minutesBegin working within 1 hour, full effect in 1 – 4 days
Provide relief for up to 12 hoursProvide relief for 24 hours
Available over-the-counterAvailable over-the-counter

It is not recommended that you take PPIs and acid controllers at the same time. If you have heartburn that cannot be controlled with a PPI, talk to your doctor about other options to help you find relief.

In short, while PPIs and acid controllers both reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces, H2 blockers work more quickly than PPIs, providing relief in as little as 15-30 minutes. PPIs can take longer to kick in, but provide longer-lasting relief, making them ideal for sufferers of frequent heartburn. If you suffer from frequent heartburn (two or more days per week), PPIs like Prilosec OTC can help you find relief*. Prilosec OTC contains the active ingredient omeprazole, while other over-the-counter (OTC) PPIs contain either esomeprazole or lansoprazole.

Hear from a Prilosec OTC user on why they decided to try a PPI like Prilosec OTC

†IQVIA ProVoiceTM Survey Jan 2005 – Mar 2021.

*Zero heartburn is possible with Prilosec OTC. Not for immediate relief. Take one pill per day as directed to treat frequent heartburn. May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Do not take for more than 14 days or more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor. Use as directed.

**PG Calculation based in part on Buying Households reported by the Nielsen Company through its Homescan Panel service in the US for Prilosec OTC for the period of 8/31/03 through 6/25/16