The prescription omeprazole is part of the drug class proton pump inhibitors and is used to treat conditions that cause the stomach to produce excessive acid. Omeprazole can be used alone or combined with other medications to treat the common condition GERD; where acid flows back out of the stomach causing heartburn and possible damage to the esophagus. This medication treats symptoms, allowing the healing of the esophagus and preventing further esophagus damage.Omeprazole is also used in treating ulcers (sores in the intestine’s or stomach’s lining) and in combination with out medications treats and prevents ulcers from returning.
Prescription omeprazole is made in delayed-release capsules and delayed-release granule packets.
Nonprescription omeprazole is made in delayed-release tablets or capsules. Both the delayed-release granules and capsules must be taken an hour before eating a meal. Omeprazole is typically taken once each day before eating, but can be taken two or three times a day when it is taken with other medications to treat or eliminate excessive acid. Treatment with this medication lasts 14 days and may be repeated every four months if it is needed.
The most common side effects of omeprazole are vomiting and diarrhea and seen in one out of five patients being treated. Very few patients experience severe reactions from the side effects. Immediate relief of symptoms resulting from heartburn will not result from taking nonprescription omeprazole; it may take anywhere between one and four days for a patient to feel full benefits from the medication. A doctor must be notified if symptoms worsen or do not get better after 14 days or if the symptoms return within four months after a treatment has been completed. Nonprescription omeprazole cannot be taken for more than 14 days or be used as self-treatment more than once every four months if a doctor is not consulted. The prescription omeprazole cannot be stopped without talking to a doctor.
Patients taking proton-pump inhibitors, including omeprazole may be more susceptible to fracturing their hips, wrists, or spine than those patients who are not taking this type of medication. This risk is most common in people taking high doses of this medication or taking it for a minimum of one year and there is even a higher risk for those who are age 50 or older.
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