Everything You Need to Know About Omeprazole

When you were a kid, odds are that some boring adult warned you to wait 30 minutes after eating before getting into the pool. While there isn’t any scientific evidence that backs this claim, the stomach is certainly a sensitive organ that can be affected by several medical issues. In fact, more Americans are hospitalized for digestive disorders than any other condition

Fortunately, you’ve probably heard of omeprazole and might’ve even taken it. But there’s a lot you might not know about this medication, including precautions to take when ingesting or administering it. That’s why SABEResPODER created this handy guide to separate fact from fiction and tell you everything you need to know about omeprazole.

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What is Omeprazole?

Omeprazole belongs to a drug class called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI) that act in the stomach lining to reduce the gastric acid produced by the cells. It can relieve heartburn or ulcer-related symptoms. 

Omeprazole is an over-the-counter drug. Despite its benefits, you should exercise caution because it’s not commonly used as a general “antacid.” Its use is only recommended for specific reasons and within short time frames. Always consult a specialist before taking this or any other medication. 

Origins and Development of Omeprazole

Omeprazole’s story dates back to 1966 when Swedish company Aktiebolaget Hässel began researching PPI. After testing different components related to lidocaine for several years, the brand created omeprazole in 1979. Though it effectively inhibited acid secretion in animal testing, the drug presented an issue: it decomposed easily, especially around an acidic medium.

It wasn’t until 1987 that AstraZeneca developed and patented a stable oral formulation. It consists of a core containing an omeprazole alkaline salt (magnesium salt, for example) and a coating of excipients (substances that aren’t drugs and are inactive in our body). The result was soluble tablets that quickly dissolve in water.

By 1989, AstraZeneca had pioneered the commercialization of omeprazole with names like Losec and Prilosec. After years of research, the capsule has evolved and improved. Generic versions started to appear by 2000 when the original patent expired.

What Does Omeprazole Treat?

Omeprazole can relieve ailments like heartburn, gastric ulcers and, along with antibiotics, infections such as Helicobacter Pylori. Other medical conditions can be treated with omeprazole, including:

How to Take Omeprazole Responsibly

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The standard dosage for Omeprazole is one 20mg capsule a day or two 10mg capsules a day, for no longer than 14 consecutive days. The exact dosage depends solely on the condition being treated and its severity. In any case, always consult a doctor before taking omeprazole and follow their recommended dosage and time period.

Keep in mind: Omeprazole should be taken once a day, 30 minutes before meals, preferably in the morning. It shouldn’t be crushed up or split. The best way to ingest it is whole with a glass of water. 

Dosage for children according to weight

As mentioned before, dosage should be determined by a licensed medical professional. This is especially true when it comes to children. Here are some recommendations from the Spanish Association of Pediatrics:

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Keep in mind: The treatment for H. Pylori must be combined with antibiotics prescribed by a health professional, along with the proper dosage of omeprazole. You can receive medical attention in the comfort of your own home. Contact us through our chat, and we’ll tell you how. 

Can omeprazole be combined with other medications?

Proceed with caution when taking omeprazole with other medications, as it can cause negative side effects in certain cases. Consult your doctor before taking omeprazole if you’re already taking any of the following: 

  • Diazepam

  • Ketoconazole

  • Digoxin

  • Phenytoin

  • Methotrexate

  • Tacrolimus

  • St. John's wort

  • Erlotinib

  • Cilostazol

  • Rifampin

  • Warfarin (or any other blood thinner)

  • Atazanavir

  • Rilpivirine

  • Nelfinavir

  • Clopidogrel

Keep in mind: Omeprazole can dull and/or delay the effect of many drugs and medications.

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Precautions To Keep In Mind When Taking Omeprazole 

Like any drug, there are certain precautions you should keep in mind when taking omeprazole. We mentioned a couple of them earlier, including consulting a doctor if you’re already taking other drugs or natural remedies. Keep these important tips in mind as well:

  • Don’t take it for more than 14 days straight

  • After finishing treatment, wait at least four months before taking it again, unless a doctor advises otherwise

  • Avoid taking omeprazole like you would a common antacid

  • Let your doctor know if you’re allergic to this medication or dexlansoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole, rabeprazole, or pantoprazole

  • If you take omeprazole on your own and aren’t seeing results, notify your doctor immediately

  • If you took omeprazole and are experiencing one of the following symptoms, consult your doctor: 

    • Sudden weight loss

    • Chest pains, nausea

    • Vomiting, sweating, dizziness with heartburn

    • Vomiting blood

    • Difficulty swallowing

    • Blood in stool

    • Neck pain, should pain, arm pain

    • Stomachache

    • Lightheadedness

    • Difficulty breathing

  • Tell your doctor if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency or a condition that doesn’t allow you to store it in your body, since omeprazole can further diminish B12 absorption

  • People with Asian backgrounds may suffer certain side effects when consuming omeprazole

  • People taking omeprazole are more prone to wrist, hip, and spine fractures, especially if they exercise for long periods of time or are over 50

  • Some studies show that taking omeprazole during pregnancy is safe; however, you should be cautious while breastfeeding 

  • Omeprazole treatments may increase the probability of contracting gastrointestinal infections like Campylobacter and Salmonella

6 Side Effects of Omeprazole

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Among the most common side effects of taking omeprazole are:
Keep in mind: Omeprazole can cause other serious side effects, so consult your doctor if any health anomaly should arise. This is especially true for symptoms that last for long periods of time.

  1. Nausea

  2. Diarrhea

  3. Gas

  4. Vomiting

  5. Constipation

  6. Headaches

In some cases, omeprazole can cause more serious side effects. Should one occur, contact a doctor immediately. Keep an eye out for:

  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)

  • Tremors

  • Severe diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Rash

  • Stomachache

  • Swollen face, lips, mouth, eyes, tongue, or throat

  • Muscle spasms

  • Excessive exhaustion

  • Snoring or pain when swallowing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sores on the nose, genitals, mouth, or lips

  • Blisters

  • Increased or decreased urge to urinate

  • Seizures

  • Swollen glands

  • Loss of appetite

  • Joint pain

  • Blood in your urine

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Administering Omeprazole to Children: What to Keep In Mind

If your child is being treated with omeprazole, take note of the following information:

  • Make sure the medication hasn’t expired

  • Administer half an hour before meals

  • Try to establish a specific time for taking the medication every day

  • Remember that treatment may take several days before showing results

  • Inform your child’s doctor if they take diazepam, anticoagulants, or phenytoin

  • Never administer two capsules in a row 

    • If you forgot to administer a dose, wait about an hour before the next intake, then continue the treatment as usual

  • Your child might need to take omeprazole with an antacid; consult their pediatrician to find out more

  • If you need to split a tablet to adjust a dose or make it easier to take, place the tablet in 10ml of water. Don’t crush the tablets. Stir gently until a cloudy mixture forms; this may take 5–10 minutes. You can add a small amount of fruit juice or yogurt to this mixture. Your child should eat/drink all the mixture immediately.

  • Capsules should be swallowed with a glass of water or juice. Your child shouldn’t chew the capsule. You can open the capsule and mix its contents with a bit of soft food like yogurt, honey, or jam. Make sure your child swallows it right away, without chewing.

  • If you're administering liquid omeprazole, shake the medicine well, then measure out the proper amount using an oral syringe or a medicine spoon. You can get these from your pharmacist. Don’t use a kitchen teaspoon as the dosage measured will be inaccurate.

What Are Some of the Main Omeprazole Brands in the U.S.?

In the United States you can find omeprazole under the name Prilosec in both over-the-counter and prescription presentations. There’s also a product called Talicia (omeprazole, amoxicillin, and rifabutin), which is used to treat H. Pylori infections. Other presentations and combinations that include omeprazole are:

  • Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate)

  • Zegerid OTC

How Should You Store Omeprazole?

Like any other medication, omeprazole should be kept out of the reach of children. It should also be stored in a cool, dry place away from excessive heat and direct light. If possible, you should always try to store it tightly sealed inside the original packaging. 

What to Do In Cases of Omeprazole Overdose?

If you or your child overdose on omeprazole, contact poison control at 1-800-222-1222 or get medical help immediately. Some symptoms of omeprazole overdose are: 

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Vomiting

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Confusion

  • Headache

  • Drowsiness

  • Blurry vision

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Dry mouth

Keep in mind: If a person has seizures, trouble breathing, or faints, call 911.

Relieve Heartburn With Omeprazole!

More than a gastric protector or common antacid, omeprazole is capable of relieving and helping treat serious stomach illnesses that cause heartburn and pain. We hope you now know more about this revolutionary drug, including how to take it and which ailments it can help you and your family treat. 

Keep in mind that this and any other medication should always be handled responsibly to avoid risks or dangerous side effects. We’re always available to answer all your questions, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions.

When it comes to you and your family’s health, SABEResPODER!

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