What is Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is an acid reducer drug which lowers the natural acid production in the stomach. It belongs to a family of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Omeprazole is sold under various trade names, some of which are Prilosec, Omez (made by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories) and Protoloc (made by USV)
Omeprazole is advised for people with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other similar conditions characterized by excessive amount of acid production in the stomach such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. This medication is also prescribed for the treatment of erosive esophagitis, a condition in which the stomach acid reaches the esophagus and damages it.
Omeprazole may also be taken along with an antibiotic to prevent gastric ulcer due to infection with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). This medication will however, not give immediate relief from heartburn. This medication may also be prescribed or taken for diseases not described above.
Important Information about Omeprazole
You must not take Omeprazole antacid medication if you are allergic to it or to any other benzimidazole drugs such as albendazole, or mebendazole. This medication will not give you instant relief if you have heartburn due to acid reflux. Notify your doctor beforehand if you have severe liver disease or magnesium deficiency so that he or she can judge whether it is safe for you to take Omeprazole.
Initial symptoms of heart attack are often misunderstood as heartburn. Get immediate and urgent medical attention if you have chest pain with pain advancing to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.
Some conditions are treated with a combination of Omeprazole and antibiotics. Always follow the directions of your doctor. A patient leaflet is provided with all medications. Read the instructions in them carefully. Do not alter the prescribed dosages in any way. Complete the full course of Omeprazole even if your symptoms have subsided. Sometimes, the symptoms disappear well before your body is free from the infection completely.
Notify your doctor beforehand if you have severe liver disease or magnesium deficiency so that he or she can judge whether it is safe for you to take Omeprazole. Omeprazole OTC (over-the-counter) medication shouldn’t be taken for more than 14 days at one go. You may start another 14-day treatment only after a gap of at least 4 months. Omeprazole is not meant for children below 1 year of age.
Before taking Omeprazole
Take care of all precautions and points mentioned above before taking Omeprazole acid reducer medication (Prilosec, Omez, Protoloc) and discuss them with your doctor and clarify any doubts you may have about it.
Do not use over the counter Omeprazole without medical advice if you have these problems: pain or trouble while swallowing, bloody or black stools, blood in vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, heartburn that has persisted for over 3 months, frequent chest pain, heartburn accompanied by wheezing, unusual weight loss, nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, osteoporosis, or low bone mineral density.
Taking a proton pump inhibitor like Omeprazole may put you on a risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This side effect has been observed in people who have taken the medication for a long time or at high doses, and in those who are 50 years or age or more. It is not known properly if Omeprazole is the actual reason behind the risk of bone fractures. Make sure to inform your doctor if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mineral density).
Omeprazole is an FDA pregnancy category C drug which means it is not known to be harmful to an unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. Do let your doctor know about your pregnancy and any plans to become pregnant in the near future. Omeprazole can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Don’t take this medication without your doctor’s advice if you are breast feeding.
How should I take Omeprazole?
Take Omeprazole acid reducer medication (Prilosec, Omez, Protoloc) strictly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions printed on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage in any way unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also do not take it for a longer than recommended period. Omeprazole is normally taken before eating.
Omeprazole medication which is available over the counter should be taken once daily 24 hours apart for a maximum of 14 days. It is recommended that you take it in the morning before you have your breakfast and don’t overrun the 24 hour rule. You may see some effects of Omeprazole after a minimum of 4 days of taking it.
Avoid crushing or chewing an Omeprazole tablet; swallow it whole. If you are unable to swallow an Omeprazole capsule, open it and put the medication into a spoonful of pudding, yogurt, or anything you like. Swallow the mixture of food and medication right away; don’t keep it for too long for later use. Store Omeprazole medication in a cool and dry place.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Omeprazole, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Omeprazole, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immedaitely.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Omeprazole
Omeprazole acid reducing medication (Prilosec, Omez, Protoloc) can cause diarrhea, which may indicate a new infection. If you have a watery or bloody diarrhea, stop taking this medication and seek medical help immediately. Don’t take medication for diarrhea without your doctor’s advice.
Side Effects of Omeprazole
Get emergency medical help if you get some allergic reactions to Omeprazole (Prilosec, Omez, Protoloc) like skin hives, breathing difficulty, swelling in face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Omeprazole may lead to low magnesium, symptoms of which are dizziness, confusion, feeling jittery, irregular and fast heart rate, jerking muscle movements, watery or bloody diarrhea, muscle cramps or weakness, limp feeling, cough or choking, or seizure. Stop taking Omeprazole if you get these symptoms and contact your doctor right away.
Some less serious side effects of Omeprazole are headache, mild diarrhea, upset stomach, stomach pain, fever, or cold symptoms like stuffy nose and cough.
The side effects mentioned above are not all the side effects reported or experienced due to Omeprazole.
Omeprazole Dosing Information
Omeprazole dosage will be fixed by your doctor after examining you properly. Dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Stick to your doctor’s prescription strictly.
Interaction with other drugs
Let your doctor know if you are using these drugs at present before taking Omeprazole: cilostazol, bosentan, cyclosporine, clopidogrel, disulfiram, digoxin, diazepam, iron medications, methotrexate, St. John's wort, tacrolimus, some antibiotics (rifabutin, rifapentine, nafcillin, ampicillin, rifampin), antifungal medicine (ketoconazole, voriconazole), anti coagulant like warfarin, anti-HIV/AIDS medications (ritonavir, efavirenz, atazanavir, nevirapine, or others), or seizure medication (carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, or others). This is not a complete list of drugs which can interact with Omeprazole. Share the list of all types of medications and related products which you are using with your doctor and never start a new medication without his or her advice.
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