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Omeprazole belongs to the family of drugs for the proton pump receptor that is used to suppress prolonged gastric acid secretion. The medication was typically administered to sufferers of stomach ulcers, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
How effective is Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is an approved brand and generic drug that is used to treat a variety of digestive conditions caused by excessive production of gastric acid. The active ingredient, which also goes by the same name as that of the drug, omeprazole is highly effective in preventing the secretion of excess gastric acid. This allows the intestinal and stomach ulcers to heal as well as relieving heartburn discomfort when used as advised.
Although omeprazole is often available as a prescribed drug, you can still buy over-the-counter omeprazole tablets/capsules. These tablets are used to treat frequent heartburn that occurs a few times within a given period.
You can buy the tablets online in one, two and three 14-day pack that will be sent to you by Next Day Delivery. You are free to book an appointment with a health expert at Click Pharmacy to discuss how best to use this drug.
What dose should I choose?
Omeprazole comes in three main dosage types; tablets, granules for oral suspension, and delayed-release capsules. A pack of omeprazole tablets come in 14, 28, and 42 tablet sizes. Each of these tablets contains 20 mg of the active ingredient omeprazole, which should be taken once daily for at least 4 weeks by patients above 18 years.
Delayed-release omeprazole capsules contain 10 mg, 2O mg, and 40 mg of the active ingredient while the oral suspension form contains 2.5 mg, and 10 mg. For patients under the age of 18 years, the dosage is based on their weight. Those weighing less than 10 kg should take 5 mg of omeprazole once a day, while those weighing more than 10 kg but less than 20 kg should take 10 mg once a day. For children weighing 20 kg and higher, their dose should be 20 mg once a day. The omeprazole granules for oral suspension are recommended for toddlers aged less than 1 year.
How should I take Omeprazole?
Omeprazole is taken orally in the form of tablets or capsules, as well as suspension which is administered using a syringe. Usually, the medication is taken once a day, first thing in the morning. It does not upset the stomach so that you can take it before or after a meal.
Note that pharmacists and doctors do not recommend taking the medication for immediate relief of acid reflux symptoms, particularly heartburn. Instead, it should be taken for 4 to 8 weeks but some patients may end up taking for 14 weeks, depending on the severity of the symptoms. Also, it may take several days for this medication to alleviate stomach pains which is why it should be taken with antacids, as advised by the doctor. If you are taking sucralfate, take omeprazole half an hour before sucralfate.
When taking omeprazole capsules/tablets, you should not chew or crush them in food, since doing so prevents the activation of the medicinal properties of the drug. If unable to swallow the capsules, some brands of omeprazole capsules can be opened and the contents mixed in a small amount of water that should be taken right away. You should take to a pharmacist to know which type of capsules can be opened.
If you forget to take the medication, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is within 12 hours to your next dose, you can skip the missed dose. It would be best if you didn't take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
How does Omeprazole work?
The active ingredient omeprazole works by targeting proton pumps in your stomach, hence its classification under proton pump inhibitor class of drugs. These tiny pumps are responsible for the chemical reaction that produces stomach acid. Once omeprazole is ingested, it is absorbed in the bloodstream and signals the acid-forming cells on the stomach lining, to reduce the amount of acid they produce. With the acidity reduced, the patient is relieved of acid reflux symptoms and the intestinal ulcers start healing.
How long should I take Omeprazole before I notice any difference?
It takes 2 to 4 days of consumption to realize the full effect, as such it should not be taken to provide immediate relief. Instead, it is meant to treat acid reflux symptoms occurring a couple of times in a week. Usually, omeprazole is prescribed for 8 weeks when treating short-term gut conditions, but the period can be extended to 14 weeks if the patient's condition does not improve.
If you are self-medicating, you should not take omeprazole for more than 2 weeks, unless advised otherwise by a pharmacist or doctor.
What are the side effects of Omeprazole?
Similar to other PPIs, most patients well tolerate omeprazole. However, it causes some mild side effects on a few patients, which fade away with time.
Some of these common side effects include:
In addition to these effects, younger patients, aged 1 to 17 years, complain about fever and breathing issues such as pharyngitis and sinus infections.
Using omeprazole for an extended period, more than 1 year, can make it difficult for your body to absorb vitamin B-12. The deficiency manifests itself through feeling nauseated, numbness, poor muscle coordination and changes in menstruation cycle. Serious side effects that should warrant a visit to the doctor include bone fractures, severe diarrhoea, pale skin and swellings in the mouth.
If you experience any of these severe side effects, be sure to consult us at Click Pharmacy for urgent assistance.
When shouldn't I take Omeprazole?
You should not take this treatment if you are on any antifungal, bloodthinning, and anti-epilepsy medications. Heart-related drugs such as digoxin and some antibiotics, do not go well with omeprazole. These medications make it more likely to develop severe omeprazole side effects. Thus you should inform your doctor if you are on any medication before beginning omeprazole treatment.
Nonetheless, the treatment is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. But first, you are advised to try alternative treatment methods such as eating smaller meals and less spicy foods, to ease acid reflux symptoms, before you can start treatment.
What is the difference between Omeprazole and Nexium/Aciphex?
Omeprazole and Nexium as well Aciphex are similar since they are all proton pump inhibitors. They can be prescribed to treat ulcers and GERD.
The only difference is in their active ingredient component. Both omeprazole and Nexium contain the same active ingredient, but omeprazole contains two isomers of the ingredient while Nexium contains only one isomer. Aciphex, on the other hand, contains rabeprazole as the active ingredient, which is also under the proton pump inhibitor class of medications.
Always read the patient information leaflet before starting your treatment. The patient information can be found here.
Content reviewed 06 April 2020, Last updated 06 April 2020
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