Patients tend to worry about the side effects that may be caused by longterm drug/meds usage. How many years do you have to consume the drug/meds to say that you are longterm on it? Likewise, if you get off the drug for let's say a couple of months or one year and then start again, is the "longterm" word meaning disrupted?

Example: I've been taking PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) for 5 years, but the first year I've taken them for 2 months, second year 2 months, third year 1 month, fourth year less than a month and fifth year 4 months on and off. Am I a longterm user of the drug or not?

  • 1
    "Longterm use" is not an absolute term, although it might be defined one way or another in a given study. In order to meaningfully answer this question I think it needs to be about one drug or drug class (PPIs would be fine) and a particular outcome that you think might ensue due to "longterm use". We could then (attempt to) find research about what the time course of developing such outcome actually is.
    – Susan
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:49
  • I see, tnx for the comment. I got a clearer view now. It would be nice if you could extend your comment to form a decent answer.
    – user3462
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 14:37
  • I don't know personally. Approved dosing charts seem necessary to use any medication appropriately and safely.
    – Clara
    Commented Aug 8, 2021 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, you have been on the PPI's long term. Not to be confused with continuous long-term, which is because you broke the cycle several times in the five years. Criteria;

  • Taking them for 5 years

  • Taking them for a month or almost a month

  • Taking them for a reason that may not go away(not sure, but if the condition is chronic then you will need the meds chronic/longterm) signifying that you will continue to need them


a definition in the literature for "long-term" is lacking; neither the AGA guidelines nor the ACG guidelines define what is considered long-term. For the rest of this article, the authors use long-term to designate therapy greater than 14 days

So we can deduce that if you continue therapy for longer than 14 days every year you will be long term.


Be aware that the OTC proton pump inhibitors should only be used as directed for 14 days for the treatment of frequent heartburn. If your heartburn continues, talk to your healthcare professional. No more than three 14-day treatment courses should be used in one year.

So from here we can see that PPI's here are only indicated for around 14 days 3 times a year.

Are Heartburn Medications Safe for Long-Term Use?

Approved dosing chart for how long to take and amount of PPI