Omeprazole: Treatments, Side Effects, Usage Guide
Omeprazole belongs to the class proton pump inhibitors or PPI. Proton pump inhibitors like Omeprazole help reduce gastric acid in a person’s stomach for a long period of time. This drug, Omeprazole, has been approved in September 1989 by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Brand names for this drug are Prilosec and Zegerid. Prilosec is what Omeprazole is called when it does not have any combination with other components while it is called Zegerid when it is combined with the component Sodium Bicarbonate.
What diseases can be treated with omeprazole?
Omeprazole is known to be useful in the treatment of gastro esophageal reflux disease. This disease is when a person experiences heartburn and damage to the esophagus. The damage to the esophagus is called esophagitis. Heartburn and esophagitis are caused by the reluctant flow of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. The role of Omeprazole in these situations is to help in the healing of the damages already present on the stomach and esophagus. It is also used to treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome where the stomach secretes more acid than needed and causes damage to the mucus linings called mucosa. Stomach and duodenal ulcers, dyspepsia or indigestion are also treated with Omeprazole. A bacterium called Helicobacter pylori can cause ulcers in the stomach and Omeprazole is used to treat the bacterial infection.
Side effects and interactions of Omeprazole
Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, stomachache, gas, and constipation. Patients who use Omeprazole for a long time have higher risk of bone fractures such as hip or wrist or spine fractures. Too much use of Omeprazole interferes in the absorption of vitamin B12, iron supplements, herbal and vitamin supplements, anticoagulants and other drugs such as ampicillin. It can decrease the elimination of certain drugs that can settle in the bloodstream. If you are taking any other drugs in combination with Omeprazole, it is always better to consult with your doctor first.
How to take Omeprazole?
Usually, doctors prescribe Omeprazole according to the patient’s condition either in combination with other drugs or without any combination. The dose of Omeprazole depends on the patient’s condition and varies from patient to patient. It is available either as tablet or capsule or powder.
Omeprazole capsules should be taken before the meals and tablets may be taken either before or after the meals. Powder can be taken on an empty stomach at least one hour before meals. This drug is available over-the-counter. If you are self-treating yourself, make sure to read the usage guide and follow the instructions carefully.
You should swallow the tablet or capsule as it is and you should not break or chew the capsule or tablet. Try to take your dose at regular timings. If you miss a day’s dose, do not double the dose on the next day to make up for the missed dose. Just forget the skipped dose and follow your normal schedule. You should not continue it for more than two weeks.
FDA has given pregnancy category C to Omeprazole as it shows in studies on animals that the drug can cause fetal defects. If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, or if you have medical problems such as diarrhea or hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in blood), or osteoporosis or seizures or liver diseases, then consult a doctor and inform about your condition before taking the medicine. Based on the patient’s condition and based on the effect of the drug on the patient, pros and cons should be weighed and the doctor should take the decision whether to administer the drug or discontinue the drug accordingly.
Horses, like any other animal, suffer from gastric ulcers, too. Omeprazole is said to be helpful in treating horses of this dilemma. But before administering Omeprazole to horses, it is always best to consult an expert on horses or a veterinarian. If not handled or treated immediately, gastric ulcers in horses may cause them detrimental health issues. Horses that are constantly on the race track should be given attention to if they have situations like these as they are not only at risk of danger on the race track but also endanger their riders. Omeprazole can be used or administered as it would be administered to a human being although on different dosages depending on the situation.