Omeprazole is prescribed to treat specific types of stomach and esophagus complications, including acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is the backward flow of acid from the stomach, this causes heartburn and sometimes injury to the esophagus. Stomach ulcers (sore that occur in the lining of the stomach or intestines) can also be treated with Omeprazole. Omeprazole works by decreasing the amount of gastric acid produced by the stomach.
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Written by Dr Karen Paulson, MD
Information last reviewed 06/21/19
Omeprazole is an FDA approved drug that is available both on prescription and over-the-counter. It is usually used for the treatment of stomach acid reflux/heartburn, ulcers, and even prevention of cancer in the esophagus. Omeprazole is a type of medication known as a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI). Proton-pump inhibitors are generally used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Omeprazole is therefore prescribed as a treatment for conditions in which the stomach produces excess acid.
Omeprazole can be used alone or with other medications to treat and prevent the return of ulcers caused by a type of bacteria (H. pylori), especially in adults. The nonprescription (over-the-counter) variety of the drug is used for the treatment of frequent heartburn; the type that occurs for 2 or more days in a week.
The active ingredient in Omeprazole is omeprazole magnesium.
The inactive ingredients in Omeprazole are: glyceryl monostearate, hydroxypropyl cellulose, Hypromellose, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer C, polysorbate, sugar spheres, talc, and triethyl citrate, and inactive granules.
Please note: The inactive ingredients may vary between different manufacturers.
Omeprazole reacts with a lot of drugs, and some individuals are also allergic to the drug, therefore, before you start taking omeprazole, here are a few things you should keep in mind:
You should tell your doctor or your pharmacist if you are allergic to Omeprazole, Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant), Esomeprazole (Nexium), Lansoprazole (Protonix), Rabeprazole (Aciphex). And any other medications, or any of the ingredients the particular Omeprazole product you will be taking. Your pharmacist can check the package for the list of ingredients in the particular product you are taking.
You should make sure to tell your doctor if you are using rilpivirine (Edurant, in Complera, Odefsey). Your doctor would probably instruct you not to use Omeprazole.
Make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist of any prescription and nonprescription medications, nutritional supplements, and herbal products that you might be taking or plan to take.
You should inform your doctor if you are of Asian descent and if you have or have ever had low levels of magnesium in your blood, low levels of vitamin B-12, any autoimmune disease (this is a condition in which the body attacks its own organs, which in turn causes swelling and loss of function in those organs), osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become weak and brittle).
Prescription Omeprazole is available as a delayed-release capsule or packets of delayed-release granules which are mixed with liquid to be taken orally or administered through a feeding tube. The nonprescription (over-the-counter) version of the drug is only available as a delayed-release oral tablet.
Note: The term delayed-release means the medication is released in the intestine to prevent the breakdown of the medication by stomach acids. It is important that you never split or crush delayed-released medications, as this can cause you to absorb the medication too quickly, resulting in potentially dangerous side effects
You should always read the patient information leaflet before taking Omeprazole and you should read it again if you get a refill or new pack of Omeprazole. Reading the patient information leaflet will give you an up-to-date knowledge of how the medication should be used and any side effects you may experience.
Antacids can also be taken with this drug if needed. If you intend to use Sucralfate with Omeprazole, then Omeprazole must be taken at least 30 minutes before Sucralfate.
Prescription Omeprazole should be taken at least 1 hour before a meal, once a day. It may be taken up to two times a day when used with other medication as a treatment to eliminate H. pylori, or it can even be taken up to three (3) times a day before meals when used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces excess acid. Ensure you follow your doctor’s instructions about how to take this medication.
For the nonprescription delayed-release tablets, these should be taken once a day in the morning, at least 1 hour before feeding, and the drug should be taken for 14 days in a row. If there is a need for additional treatments, another 14-day treatment may be repeated, but not more than once every 4 months.
It is a good idea to take your Omeprazole at around the same time every day to help remember when to take it.
Make sure you ask your pharmacist to explain anything you do not understand after reading the prescription label carefully.
You should take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if the time for your next dose is close, you should skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the normal time. You should never double the dose to make up for the missed one. If you are unsure, you should speak to your doctor about this.
In case of an overdose, you should immediately call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222, or its equivalence in your area. If the victim has collapsed and cannot breathe, or cannot be awakened, you should immediately call emergency services at 911 or the equivalent in your area.
Some of the symptoms of overdose include unusual sweating, confusion, blurred vision, and unusually fast heartbeat.
You can also visit https://www.poisonhelp.org/help for more information.
The use of Omeprazole can cause side effects. If your symptoms are severe or do not go away after a period of time, then you should tell your doctor immediately.
Some side effects of Omeprazole can be serious. If you experience any of the symptoms below, speak to your doctor immediately or call the emergency services.
Note: These lists do not represent all of the side effects that can be experienced by a person using Omeprazole. You should talk to your doctor if you notice any serious side effect even those not mentioned in the list above.
Also, there is a high likelihood of people who take proton-pump inhibitors fracturing their wrists, spine or hips than people who don’t. Gland polyps (a growth on the lining of the stomach) can be developed by people who take Omeprazole medications. People who take a high dose of Omeprazole or have been on the medication for up to a year or longer are likely to be at a higher risk of showing side effects.
Talk to your doctor about the risk of using Omeprazole and how long is ideal for you to use it for.
You should make sure not to crush, chew, or break delayed-release tablets, as doing so can cause the release of the entire drug at once, thereby increasing the risk of side effects.
If your type of medication is the disintegrating delayed-release tablets, make sure you handle the tablets with dry hands. To use this form of medication, you should place the tablet on your tongue and let it dissolve. The dissolved form of the tablet can be taken with or without water. The tablet can also be swallowed whole with water.
Nonprescription Omeprazole should not be taken for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms. This medication may take 1 to 4 days before the full benefit is felt. You should make sure you call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or do not improve after using the medication for 14 days, or if your symptoms return sooner than 4 months after you finish your treatment.
Unless you are specifically instructed by your doctor to change your diet, you should continue with your normal diet when using Omeprazole.
Do not store this drug in the bathroom. Keep at room temperature and away from light and moisture. Make sure you keep all medications away from the reach of children and pets.
You should not flush your medication down the drain or toilet unless you are specifically instructed to do so.
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