Omeprazole is a treatment for acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD), heartburn and stomach ulcers. It is available in capsule form, as dispersible tablets and as an over-the-counter medication.
Omeprazole is a type of medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It works by blocking the production of stomach acid by the proton pump in the stomach, settling the symptoms of acid reflux and allowing the esophagus to heal.
GORD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is characterised by frequent acid reflux and can cause some minor damage to the esophagus. For treatment of GORD, Omeprazole is usually taken once daily for 4 to 8 weeks at dosage recommended by your doctor.
If you are experiencing acid reflux regularly, you can start taking Omeprazole daily until symptoms have settled. If you are self-treating with over-the-counter omeprazole, you should not take it for longer than 2 weeks without checking in with a doctor. If you experience acid reflux very occasionally or on a one-off occasion, some simple lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals and avoiding trigger foods can help.
When taken regularly to treat GORD or acid reflux, Omeprazole should start to make you feel better within 2 to 3 days. It can take up to 4 weeks for Omeprazole to work fully and you may continue to experience some symptoms in this time.
Omeprazole can relieve your symptoms and settle stomach acid within 2 to 4 weeks. If you are self-treating with over-the-counter Omeprazole, you should not take it for more than 2 weeks without consulting a doctor. For treatment of GORD, treatment may continue for up to 8 weeks.
The active ingredient in Omeprazole is omeprazole.
The inactive ingredients in Omeprazole are sugar spheres (corn starch and sucrose), sodium lauryl sulfate, disodium phosphate, mannitol, hypromellose, polyethylene glycol 6000, talc, polysorbate 80, titanium dioxide, Eudragit L30-D55 (poly(methacrylic acid, ethyl acrylate)), gelatin, quinine yellow (E104) and titanium dioxide (E171).
Please Note: Different brands of generic Omeprazole could contain different inactive ingredients than those listed here.
Always take Omeprazole as instructed by a doctor or pharmacist. It is usually taken once daily in the morning, although your doctor may decide you need an additional evening dose. Swallow one capsule with water about an hour before eating, without splitting or chewing the capsule. Dispersible tablets should be dissolved in a small glass of water and drunk. If you forget to take a dose, don’t worry, just take the next one as planned. There is no need to take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
For treatment of persistent acid reflux or GORD, the recommended dose is 10 mg taken once daily for 4 to 8 weeks, or 20 mg if the esophagus is damaged. If the esophagus has not healed within 8 weeks, your doctor may recommend a dose of 40 mg once daily for a further 8 weeks.
For the treatment of stomach ulcers, the recommended dose is 20 mg taken once daily for 4 weeks. If ulcers have not healed, your doctor may increase the dose to 40 mg per day for a further 4 to 8 weeks.
Omeprazole comes in the form of hard-coated capsules, which should be swallowed whole with water and should not be split, and orodispersible tablets which dissolve in the mouth.
Omeprazole should be taken in the morning or at at least 1 hour before a meal. This will allow it to be absorbed via the stomach lining before acid production begins with food. If you are taking Omeprazole twice daily, you should take one dose in the morning and one in the evening.
Like all medication, Omeprazole can cause side effects in some patients. If not experience any of the following rare but serious side effects, stop taking Omeprazole and contact a doctor immediately:
Common side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 people and include:
Uncommon side effects, affecting up to 1 in 100 people, can include:
Rare side effects (1 in 1,000 people) can include:
Very rarely, (1 in 10,000 cases) the following side effects can be experienced:
Do NOT take Omeprazole if:
Before taking Omeprazole, speak to your doctor or pharmacist if:
Do NOT take Omeprazole in combination with nelfinavir (used to treat HIV infection). Before taking Omeprazole, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medication, including those purchased over the counter without a prescription. In particular, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
Omeprazole should be taken approximately an hour before eating. If this causes any sickness or nausea, try drinking small sips of water to stay hydrated and eat smaller portions at mealtimes. Drinking water will also help prevent any constipation, as will eating foods that are rich in fibre and exercising regularly. Stomach pain or discomfort can be soothed by holding a hot water bottle against your abdomen, and avoiding foods such as onions, peas, beans and lentils which can cause wind.
Drinking alcohol is a common cause of acid reflux. For best results, do not drink alcohol while being treated with Omeprazole.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are, think you might be or are planning on becoming pregnant.
Omeprazole can be purchased in the form of capsules which dissolve in the stomach, and tablets which can be dissolved in water and drunk for those who struggle with swallowing capsules. A branded version of Omperazole, Losec, is also available in the form of tablets which are placed in the mouth and dissolve on the tongue.
Losec is a brand name for the generic drug called Omeprazole. Both contain omeprazole as the active ingredient and work in exactly the same way, although the generic version is somewhat cheaper.
Omeprazole can be bought over the counter for self-treatment of acid reflux that occurs regularly (more than twice per week). It is the same as the 20 mg dose of prescription Omeprazole, but should not be taken for longer than 2 weeks without consultation with a doctor.
It is fine to take Paracetamol with Omeprazole, but you should avoid taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin if you have heartburn or ulcers, as it can make these conditions worse.
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