GENERIC NAME: Omeprazole

COMMON BRANDS: Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, Omesec

Omeprazole is an oral prescription drug that belongs to a class of medication known as proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s). It acts by inhibiting (blocking) the excess release of acid in your stomach. It is available as an oral capsule form, which is a delayed-release drug (releases slowly in the stomach), and also available as an oral suspension form. Omeprazole capsule is a prescription drug, whereas, the suspension form is an over-the-counter drug.

What is Omeprazole used for?

Omeprazole is used for the treatment of specific stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It acts by reducing the excess amount of acid production in your stomach. It helps in relieving symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and a persistent cough. This medication helps heal stomach and esophageal damage caused by excessive stomach acid, thereby preventing ulcers, and also prevent the development of esophageal cancer.

Omeprazole is used for the treatment of certain conditions such as:

    • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents move backward toward the esophagus.
    • Erosive esophagitis -Esophagus damage caused by excess acid.
    • Gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers) or duodenal ulcers (ulcers on the upper part of small intestine).
    • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (ZES) – A rare condition characterised by the formation of tumours on digestive tract (especially duodenum).
    • Helicobacter pylori – Stomach infections caused by bacteria.

This drug is used alone or in combination with other medications.

How to use Omeprazole?

Before you start your treatment with omeprazole, and each time you get a refill, read the patient information guideline if available from your pharmacist.

Take this medication once a day orally, on an empty stomach, at least an hour before meals. If you are on self-medication, follow the product package information. The treatment depends on your medical condition and treatment response. In children, the dosage depends on weight. Avoid increasing your dose or taking it frequently unless your doctor’s recommendation. Ask your doctor/pharmacist for further information.

If you are taking sucralfate or any antacids, take omeprazole at least 30 minutes before taking sucralfate or antacid. Swallow the capsules whole without breaking, crushing or chewing.

Take this drug regularly to get the full benefit from it. Preferably take this medicine at the same time each day to avoid missing any dose.

Continue this medication even if you feel better until the course of the treatment is completed. If you are using the over-the-counter product and you are on self-medication, do not exceed the treatment for more than 2 weeks.

Ask your doctor, if your condition does not improve or if it gets worse even after self-medication of 2 weeks. The risk of side effects increases by time. Ask your doctor about how long you should use this medication.

What are the side effects of taking Omeprazole?

The side effects of omeprazole are slightly different for children and adults.

The common side effects observed in an adult such as a headache, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, gas. Whereas, in children, side effects consist the above, plus fever. Take your doctor’s advice if any of these side effects continue or worsen.

Using this drug for a prolonged duration more than three years can make vitamin B-12 absorption difficult, resulting in vitamin B-12 deficiency. Symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency such as neuritis (inflammation of a nerve), nervousness, poor muscular coordination, tingling or numbness in hands and feet and changes in menstruation.

Get medical assistance promptly if you notice any severe side effects, such as symptoms of a low magnesium blood level (like an unusually fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms, seizures), signs of lupus (like a rash on nose and cheeks, new or worsening joint pain).

This drug rarely causes a severe intestinal infection caused by Clostridium difficile (a type of bacteria). Avoid using any anti-diarrhoea or opioid medications as these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor right away if you observe symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, stomach pain/cramping, fever, blood/mucus in your stool.

Allergic reaction to this medicine is very rare. However, get medical help promptly if you notice any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as rash, itching/swelling (face/tongue/throat), breathlessness.

This is not a full record of all possible side effects. If you mark other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What are the precautions while using Omeprazole?

Before using this drug, inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it or if you have any other allergies.

Discuss with your doctor about medical history, mainly of liver disease, kidney problems, or lupus (an autoimmune disease).

Get medical assistance promptly if you have heartburn with lightheadedness/sweating/dizziness, chest pain radiating to jaw/arm/shoulder (especially with shortness of breath, unusual sweating), unexplained weight loss.

If you are using this medication as over-the-counter, get medical help right away if you notice any of these signs of a severe condition like bloody vomit, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, trouble/pain swallowing food, bloody/black stools, heartburn for over 3 months, frequent chest pain, recurrent wheezing (especially with heartburn), nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain.

Omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) may increase your risk for bone fractures, mainly when used for a more extended period, higher doses, and in older adults. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to prevent bone loss/fracture, such as by taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.

In pregnancy, use this drug only when benefits outweigh the risk. Discuss with your doctor for further details about the risks and benefits.

This medication may cross into breast milk. The effects of this drug are unknown on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the drug interactions of Omeprazole?

Omeprazole may interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be using. A drug interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works which can be harmful or hinder the drug from working well.

Do not start, stop, or alter the dose of the drug without discussing your doctor as your doctor may be monitoring you for possible drug interactions.

Omeprazole may interact with some medications like clopidogrel, cilostazol, methotrexate (at high-dose treatment), rifampin, St John’s wort.

Some medications need stomach acid to absorb them properly in the body. Omeprazole decreases stomach acid so it may hinder work of these products. Some of the affected medicines like nelfinavir, pazopanib, atazanavir, erlotinib, rilpivirine, certain azole antifungals (itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole), among others.

Omeprazole is very similar to esomeprazole. Do not use any medications containing esomeprazole with this drug.

This medication may intervene with certain lab tests, resulting in a false test. Assure that all your doctors and lab personnel know you use this drug.

WARNINGS:

Prolonged use of this drug can cause low magnesium levels in the blood, osteoporosis (increases the risk of bone fracture), low absorption of vitamin B12 (vitamin B12 absorbs well in acidic pH) and may cause liver problems.

Allergy: Omeprazole can cause a severe allergic reaction in some people Such as rashes, face swelling, throat tightness or trouble breathing. Call an emergency if notice any of these effects.

Pregnant women: No established evidence proves this drug is safe in pregnancy. Notify to your doctor before using this drug if you are pregnant.

Breastfeeding women: Omeprazole passes into breast milk. Inform your doctor if you breastfeed. You may need to choose whether to stop taking this medication or stop breastfeeding. Consult your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Carcinogenic: Prolonged use of omeprazole is known to cause stomach cancer in animal studies. However, there are no established studies on humans that prove this drug does not cause cancer. Avoid prolonged use of this drug.

Children: Avoid using this drug in children below 16 years as the studies are not established yet in this age group.

Seniors: The dose of the drug depends on your kidney function as with the ageing kidney function decrease, and your body may metabolise this drug more slowly. At the start of therapy, the doctor may prescribe you a low dose to avoid too much of omeprazole in your body which can be dangerous.

What are the forms and strengths of Omeprazole?

Generic: Omeprazole
Form: Oral capsule delayed-release
Strengths: 10mg, 20mg, 40mg

Form: Oral Packet
Strengths: 2.5mg, 10mg

Form: Suspension
Strengths: 2mg/mL

Form: Tablet delayed-release
Strengths: 20mg

Form: Oral disintegrating tablets
Strengths: 20mg

What is the dosage of Omeprazole?

For Duodenal Ulcer or Stomach Infection:

Adult (18 years and above):

Active duodenal ulcer: take 20mg once per day for up to 4 weeks (for a month). Some people may need more than four weeks of treatment.

A duodenal ulcer caused by Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) infection:

Take 20 mg twice per day for ten days in combination with antibiotics (amoxicillin and clarithromycin).
In the case of ulcer at the start of treatment, you might also need to take 20mg once daily for a further 18 days.

Take 40mg once per day for 14 days in combination with clarithromycin.
In the case of ulcer at the start of treatment, you might also need to take 20mg once daily for an additional 14 days.

Pediatric:

Children (16 to 17 years):

For Active duodenal ulcer: Take 20mg once per day for up to 4 weeks. Some children may need more than four weeks of treatment.

A duodenal ulcer caused by Helicobacter pylori infection:

Take 20mg twice per day for ten days in combination with antibiotics (amoxicillin and clarithromycin).
In the case of ulcer at the start of treatment, you might also need to take 20mg once daily for a further 18 days.

Take 40mg once per day for 14 days in combination with clarithromycin.
In the case of ulcer at the start of treatment, you might also need to take 20mg once daily for an additional 14 days.

Children ( 0 to 15 years):

Avoid using this drug in children below 16 years as the studies are not established yet in this age group.

For Gastric (Stomach) Ulcer:

Adult (18 years and above):

Typical dose: Take 40mg once per day for 4 to 8 weeks.

Children (16 to 17 years):

Typical dose: Take 40mg once per day for 4 to 8 weeks.

Children (0 to 16 years):

Avoid using this drug in children below 16 years as the studies are not established yet in this age group.

For Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):

Adult (18 years and above):

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Take 20mg once per day for up to 4 weeks.
Esophagitis with GERD symptoms: Take 20mg taken once per day for 4 to 8 weeks.

Children (17 years):

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Take 20mg once per day for up to 4 weeks.
Esophagitis with GERD symptoms: Take 20mg once per day for 4 to 8 weeks.

Children (2 to 16 year):

Children dose is based on their weight:

10kg to less than 20kg (22lb to less than 44lb): Take 10mg once per day.
20kg (44lb) or more: Take 20mg once per day.

Children (0–1 year):

Omeprazole has not been studied in children younger than two years. It should not be used in this age group.

For Erosive Esophagitis (EE):

Adult (18 years and above):

Maintenance dose: 20mg once daily.

Children (17 years):

Maintenance dose: 20 mg once daily.

Children (ages 2–16 years):

Children dose is based on their weight:

10kg to less than 20kg (22lb to less than 44lb): Take 10mg once per day.
20kg (44lb) or more: Take 20mg once per day

Children (0–1 year):

Omeprazole has not been studied in children younger than two years. It should not be used in this age group.

For Pathological Hypersecretory Conditions:

Adult (18 and above):

Initial dose: Take 60mg once per day. The doctor may increase your dose if required.
Maximum dose: 360mg per day. If you need to take more than 80mg per day, your doctor may recommend you to this drug in divided doses.

Children (ages 16–17 years):

Typical starting dosage: 60mg taken once per day.
Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
Maximum dosage: 360mg per day. If you need to take more than 80mg per day, your doctor may recommend you to this drug in divided doses.

Children (ages 0–15 years):

Avoid using this drug in children below 16 years as the studies are not established yet in this age group.

Most common questions asked about Omeprazole / Q&A’s:

Does Omeprazole cause weight gain?

Yes, but sudden or unusual weight gain is not very common with omeprazole. Weight gain is seen in patients using this drug for a prolonged duration. According to the research conducted by “University of Occupational and Environmental Health“, School of Medicine, Japan, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) are associated with body weight gain in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and reflux patients and must be recommended lifestyle modifications while using PPI’s.

Does Omeprazole cause constipation?

Yes, the most common side effects you may observe while using omeprazole is constipation. However, not everyone will experience this side effect.

Can I take Omeprazole at night?

No, most of the proton pump inhibitors including omeprazole have to be taken in an empty stomach, early morning and before breakfast. This is because omeprazole is well absorbed in an acidic pH, presence on food in stomach dilutes acid in the stomach. Most PPI’s often fail to work because patients do not follow the instructions on how to take.

Disclaimer

TheMedPharma has made every effort to make sure that all the information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this website should not be considered as a substitute for the advice, knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or licensed health care professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subjected to changes if required. The lack of warnings or other information for a given drug does not mean that the drug or its combination is safe, effective or appropriate for use in all patients.