OBJECTIVE: Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs used to suppress gastric acid production and treat GI disorders such as peptic ulcers and gastro-oesophageal reflux. They have been considered low risk, have been widely adopted, and are often over-prescribed. Recent studies have identified an increased risk of enteric and other infections with their use. Small studies have identified possible associations between PPI use and GI microbiota, but this has yet to be carried out on a large population-based cohort. DESIGN: We investigated the association between PPI usage and the gut microbiome using 16S ribosomal RNA amplification from faecal samples of 1827 healthy twins, replicating results within unpublished data from an interventional study. RESULTS: We identified a significantly lower abundance in gut commensals and lower microbial diversity in PPI users, with an associated significant increase in the abundance of oral and upper GI tract commensals. In particular, significant increases were observed in Streptococcaceae. These associations were replicated in an independent interventional study and in a paired analysis between 70 monozygotic twin pairs who were discordant for PPI use. We propose that the observed changes result from the removal of the low pH barrier between upper GI tract bacteria and the lower gut. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings describe a significant impact of PPIs on the gut microbiome and should caution over-use of PPIs, and warrant further investigation into the mechanisms and their clinical consequences.
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GASTRIC ACID, INTESTINAL MICROBIOLOGY, LACTIC ACID BACTERIA, LACTOBACILLUS, PROTON PUMP INHIBITION, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Proton Pump Inhibitors, Upper Gastrointestinal Tract, Young Adult