Prilosec for GERD

Omeprazole, like lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium), is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Proton pump inhibitors block the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid, thereby decreasing the production of acid. Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat conditions caused by stomach acid, including ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and the Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.

The brand name for omeprazole is Prilosec and it’s available by prescription or over the counter as Prilosec OTC or Zegerid OTC. The recommended dosage for treating ulcers, GERD, erosive esophagitis, and H. pylori in adults is 20 to 40 mg daily. When used in the prevention of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in critically ill patients, the usual dosage is 40 mg daily. Prilosec OTC is recommended in 20-mg daily doses for up to two weeks to treat heartburn. Prilosec should be taken before meals and swallowed whole for maximum benefit.

Although side effects of omeprazole and other PPIs are usually mild, they may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches, rash, and dizziness. Other less likely side effects include nervousness, abnormal heartbeat, muscle pain, weakness, leg cramps, and water retention.

Before taking omeprazole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if have any allergies, including allergies to omeprazole or similar drugs such as lansoprazole or esomeprazole. You should also tell your doctor if you have a history of heartburn lasting more than 3 months; heartburn combined with lightheadedness, sweating, or dizziness; chest pain; shoulder or jaw pain combined with trouble breathing; unexplained weight loss; trouble or pain swallowing food; liver problems; persistent nausea or stomach pain; or black vomit or stools.

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