english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2010 > Heartburn: pantoprazole in some cases, but not during pregnancy

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Heartburn: pantoprazole in some cases, but not during pregnancy

For some patients who suffer from heartburn, pantoprazole can be used. It is best avoided during pregnancy.

Gastroesophageal reflux often manifests itself as a brief sensation of heartburn. Lifestyle and dietary changes are sometimes sufficient to control it. In some cases, a short-term drug treatment is appropriate. Among the drugs available without a prescription in France, antacids are the first choice and can be used in pregnancy. Waiting 2 hours between taking the antacid and other drugs avoids any potential drug interactions.

For the first time in France, the use of a proton pump inhibitor, pantoprazole, without a medical prescription has been authorised for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux. Its risk-benefit balance is more favourable that of H2 receptor antagonists such as famotidine and cimetidine.

Pantoprazole is another option for treating heartburn, once serious symptoms warranting a medical consultation have been excluded.

Pantoprazole should be avoided during pregnancy, since fetotoxicity has been observed in animals.

©Prescrire March 2010

Source: "Pantoprazole. Premier IPP sans prescription" Rev Prescrire 2010; 30 (316): 109.

> See also: "In the December issue of Prescrire International: Pantoprazole in gastroesophageal reflux"