Question: I have systemic Mastocytosis. My Dr. has put me on PRILOSEC. He said it is a Proton Pump Inhibitor. What is a Proton Pump Inhibitor and how does it work for Mastocytosis?
Answer: Mastocytosis is a disease in which the bone marrow produces excessive numbers of cells known as Mast cells. These cells make many chemicals (mediators) that have an effect on other organs of the body. One such mediator is Histamine; excess of this leads to some of the symptoms of Mastocytosis, including various GI disturbances.
Histamine is a powerful stimulant of Acid secretion by the stomach. The large amount of Histamine in patients with Mastocytosis causes a rise in acid secretion. The end result is ulcer disease and sometimes diarrhea and impaired intestinal absorption. The diarrhea and decreased intestinal absorption happen because of more fluid being produced than the GI tract can handle, and the effect of acid on intestinal enzymes which are needed for digestion.
This does not happen in all those with this rare disease-but it certainly can be a problem when it does. TAGAMET belongs to a class of medications known as H-2 Antagonist; they block some of the effects of Histamine, including acid secretion. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), such as PRILOSEC, block acid secretion at a different biochemical step in acid production. PPIs do a better job in blocking acid secretion than the H-2′s, and their effects last longer, allowing for less frequent doses.