Omeprazole: Uses & Side Effects

Omeprazole (Prilosec) is a proton pump inhibitor that decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

Omeprazole is used to treat symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other conditions caused by excess stomach acid. It is also used to promote healing of erosive esophagitis (damage to your esophagus caused by stomach acid).

Omeprazole may also be given together with antibiotics to treat gastric ulcer caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Over-the-counter (OTC) omeprazole is used to help control heartburn that occurs 2 or more days per week. The OTC brand of omeprazole must be taken as a course on a regular basis for 14 days in a row.

Before taking this medicine

Heartburn can mimic early symptoms of a heart attack. Get emergency medical help if you have chest pain that spreads to your jaw or shoulder and you feel anxious or light-headed.

You should not use omeprazole if you are
allergic to it, or if:

  • you are also allergic to medicines like omeprazole, such as esomeprazole, lansoprazole, pantoprazole, rabeprazole, Nexium, Prevacid, Protonix, and others; or
  • you also take HIV medication that contains rilpivirine (such as Complera, Edurant, Odefsey, Juluca).

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe
for you to use omeprazole if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • trouble or pain with swallowing;
  • bloody or black stools, vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds;
  • heartburn that has lasted for over 3 months;
  • frequent chest pain, heartburn with wheezing;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • nausea or vomiting, stomach pain;
  • liver disease;
  • low levels of magnesium in your blood; or
  • osteoporosis or low bone mineral density (osteopenia).

You may be more likely to have a broken
bone in your hip, wrist, or spine while taking a proton pump inhibitor
long-term or more than once per day. Talk with your doctor about ways to keep
your bones healthy.

Ask a doctor before using omeprazole if you
are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Do not give this medicine to a child
without medical advice.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to omeprazole: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using omeprazole and call your doctor
at once if you have:

  • severe stomach pain, diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
  • new or unusual pain in your wrist, thigh, hip, or back;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • kidney problems – little or no urination, blood in your urine, swelling, rapid weight gain;
  • low magnesium – dizziness, fast or irregular heart rate, tremors (shaking) or jerking muscle movements, feeling jittery, muscle cramps, muscle spasms in your hands and feet, cough or choking feeling; or
  • new or worsening symptoms of lupus – joint pain, and a skin rash on your cheeks or arms that worsens in sunlight.

Taking this medicine long-term may cause
you to develop stomach growths called fundic gland polyps. Talk with your
doctor about this risk.

If you use omeprazole for longer than 3 years, you could develop a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Talk to your doctor about how to manage this condition if you develop it.

Common omeprazole side effects may include:

  • stomach pain, gas;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or
  • headache.

Keywords: Omeprazole; Prilosec.

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