Get Rabeprazole (Aciphex) to treat acid reflux

Rabeprazole 20mg is a prescription drug that effectively prevents and heals problems and symptoms related to acid reflux. It can also be used to cure stomach ulcers.

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Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD

Information last reviewed 07/31/19


What is Rabeprazole?

Rabeprazole is a medication of the “proton pump inhibitor” class. When taken orally, the medication works by blocking the proton pump (hydrogen-potassium (H-K) ATPase pump) in the stomach, which pumps Hydrogen ions (acid) into the stomach. Thus, it reduces the amount of stomach acid in the stomach. 

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux, also known as heartburn, acid indigestion, or pyrosis, is a common condition that is characterized by a burning pain in the lower chest area, often after eating. Acid reflux happens when stomach acid flows up into the food pipe (esophagus).

How does Rabeprazole work?

Rabeprazole works by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. This is achieved with the proton pump inhibitors contained in Rabeprazole, which block the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is typically diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week.

How long does Rabeprazole take to work?

Rabeprazole works within one hour of taking it (up to 4 hours if taken with food) and the effect lasts around 24 hours. 

How effective is Rabeprazole?

PPIs taken at the standard dose for eight weeks relieve symptoms of GERD and heal esophagitis in up to 86 percent of patients with erosive esophagitis. Rabeprazole and other PPIs are very effective in treating GERD, and are considered more effective than H2-blockers medications such as Ranitidine.


Active ingredients

Rabeprazole tablet 20mg contains the active ingredient rabeprazole sodium at a concentration of 20mg.

Inactive ingredients

Rabeprazole also contains the following inactive ingredients: carnauba wax, crospovidone, diacetylated monoglycerides, ethylcellulose, hydroxypropyl cellulose, hypromellose phthalate, magnesium stearate, mannitol, propylene glycol, sodium hydroxide, sodium stearyl fumarate, talc, and titanium dioxide. Iron oxide yellow is the coloring agent for the tablet coating. Iron oxide red is the ink pigment.

Please note: different generic versions of Rabeprazole may contain different inactive ingredients to those listed here.

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

Severe allergic reactions to Rabeprazole have been reported in the past. Though this type of medication, an anti-acid, has a good safety profile, it can cause swelling of the face, hives, itching, trouble breathing and dizziness. Please seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms after taking the medication. 


How to take Rabeprazole

For the treatment of acid reflux associated with GERD, take one tablet of Rabeprazole 20mg orally (by mouth) with a glass of water before a meal, usually first thing in the morning. You should take one tablet every day for usually up to 4 weeks.

If your doctor prescribes Rabeprazole twice a day, take one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening.

Swallow the tablet whole. Do not chew, crush, or split the drug as this may increase the risk of side effects.

Rabeprazole dosage

The dose of Rabeprazole (Aciphex) is 20mg once a day. This is an extended-release pill form that provides long-lasting coverage throughout the day.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Rabeprazole?

If you are within twelve hours of the missed dose, take the missed dose at that time. If you are due for your next dose, do not double up the doses. Simply skip the missed dose, and resume the next dose. 

What should I do if I take too much Rabeprazole?

If you take too much Rabeprazole, call the poison control center at 800-222-1222 for further instructions.  

Side Effects

Rabeprazole side effects

Get immediate medical help if you experience signs of an allergic reaction to Rabeprazole: skin rash (which may be itchy), swelling of your face, lips, tongue, throat; difficulty breathing.

Common side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Constipation
  • Gas and stomach pain
  • Sore throat

If any of these side effects persist or cause distress, talk to your doctor.

Rare but serious side effects include:

  • Abnormal changes in your skin such as rash on nose, cheeks and arms, blisters and new or worsening joint pain (possible signs of Lupus)
  • Worsening stomach pain, yellowish skin, whites of your eyes turn yellow, dark urine (possible signs of liver problems)
  • Unusual weakness, sore tongue, numbness/tingling of the hand and/or feet (possible vitamin B-12 deficiency)
  • Pain when you urinate, changes in the amount you urinate, lower back pain, swollen ankles, rash, fever (possible signs of kidney problems)
  • Infections (sore throat, fever), or ulcers in your mouth or throat

If you experience any of these rare but serious side effects, seek immediate medical help.


Rabeprazole is contraindicated if you suffer from any of the following conditions:

  • Clostridium difficile infection (a common bacterium of the human intestine that can infect the bowel and cause diarrhea)
  • Inadequate vitamin B12
  • Low amount of magnesium in the blood
  • Liver problems
  • Interstitial nephritis (when the spaces between the small tubes inside the kidney become inflamed)
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (a skin disease that  commonly develops in sun-exposed areas, including the upper back, shoulders, extensor arms, neck, and upper torso, while the face is often spared)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (a chronic disease that causes inflammation in connective tissues, such as cartilage and the lining of blood vessels)
  • Osteoporosis (a condition that weakens the bones)
  • CYP2C19 poor metabolizer (an enzyme which metabolizes certain medications, and can work differently in people with genetic predisposition)
  • Allergy to Proton Pump Inhibitors (a group of drugs in charge of reducing stomach acid production)

Drug Interactions

Some medicines should not be taken in combination with Rabeprazole. Do not use Rabeprazole in combination with anti-diarrhea products or narcotic pain medications (painkillers) as Rabeprazole may worsen the symptoms you seek to treat. Call your doctor if you develop persistent diarrhea, abdominal stomach pain/cramping, fever, or blood/mucus in your stool. Also, do not use Rabeprazole in combination with the following medicines as they may increase the risk of side effects: Digoxin (for heart conditions), antifungal medicines (Itraconazole, Ketoconazole, Posaconazole), Methotrexate (for cancer and conditions like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis), HIV drugs, Rifampicin (antibiotic), or antidepressants. Before taking Rabeprazole, inform your doctor of all the medicines you are currently taking.


Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. WebMD, ‘Rabeprazole Sodium’[website], https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-17504/rabeprazole-oral/details [last accessed 11 April 2019]
  2. Medical News Today, ‘What is Acid Reflux’, [website], 13 November 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.php [last accessed 11 April 2019]
  3. WebMD, ‘Gastroesphageal Reflux Disease (GERD)’, [website], https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/guide/reflux-disease-gerd-1#1 [last accessed 11 April 2019]
  4. NHS, ‘Rabeprazole’, [website], 26 November 2018, https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/rabeprazole/ [last accessed 11 April 2019]
  5. Medline Plus, ‘Rabeprazole’, [website], 15 January 2019 https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a699060.html [last accessed 11 April 2019]
  6. WebMD, ‘Who should not take Rabeprazole SODIUM?’, [website] https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-17504/rabeprazole-oral/details/list-contraindications [last accessed 23 April 2019]

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