Omeprazole is used to treat problems related to the oesophagus and stomach, such as acid reflux. It works by lowering the amount of acid your stomach produces. That leads to relief from symptoms such as a persistent cough, heartburn, or difficulty in swallowing.
Omeprazole allows the body to heal the acid induced damage to the oesophagus and stomach. It thus proves to be effective in prevention of ulcers. It can take up to 4 days for you to feel the full benefit of omeprazole.
This medication is available without a prescription however it is still important that you take it correctly and appropriately.
Do not initiate this medication on your own and without a prescription from your doctor. Before taking Omeprazole, read the patient information booklet that comes with the packaging. If you have any questions that aren't answered there, ask your doctor or Pharmacist.
You will need to take a daily dose of the medication, and the duration of it will depend on your medical history and response to initial doses. Do not increase your dosage on your own and do not take it for longer than what is prescribed.
After consulting your doctor, you can start taking it once a day, preferably first thing in the morning.
Always take the medication whole, and swallow it down with water. Do not chew the tablets or crush them before ingestion. If you have trouble swallowing it whole, you can open the capsule and sprinkle the contents of it on a tablespoon of soft food, and then swallow it down with water without chewing. Another option is to pour the contents of the capsule into a small amount of juice, stir it well, and then drink it down.
To draw maximum benefit from this medication, you should keep taking it regularly every day for no more than 14 days. If your heartburn or acid reflux doesn't get better, or gets worse, or if you are experiencing side effects, inform your doctor immediately. Do not continue taking the medication for longer than 14 days. Your doctor can best guide you on how long you can safely keep taking Omeprazole.
Most people who take Omeprazole do not experience any serious side effects. Some common side effects of this medication are: Abdominal pain; constipation; diarrhoea; dizziness; dry mouth; gastrointestinal disorders; headache; insomnia; nausea; skin reactions; vomiting. If you experience these side effects, and they persist or get worse, stop taking the medication and inform your doctor.
Hypomagnesemia can occur in those taking omeprazole for longer than 1 year (although it can occur as early as 3 months), the frequency at which this occurs is unknown.. The symptoms for it include an irregular heartbeat, prolonged muscle spasms, and a rash on your cheeks or nose. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking the medication and consult your doctor at once.
Allergic reactions to Omeprazole are rare. However, if you do experience any allergic reactions, or any other side effects that are not mentioned here, discontinue omeprazole and and consult your doctor.
Before taking Omeprazole, inform your doctor about any allergies you may have, particularly relating to heartburn medications. Some formulations of this medication can contain inactive ingredients that might cause allergic reactions.
Also disclose to your doctor your complete medical history, especially if you have had issues related to lupus or kidney disease.
Acid Reflux Tablets may hide the symptoms of other diseases. Therefore, if any of the following happen to you before you start taking Acid Reflux Tablets or while you are taking it, talk to your doctor straight away:
You lose a lot of weight for no reason and have problems swallowing.
You get stomach pain or indigestion.
You begin to vomit food or blood.
You pass black stools (blood-stained faeces).
You experience severe or persistent diarrhoea, as omeprazole has been associated with a small increase in infectious diarrhoea.
You have had previous gastric ulcer or gastrointestinal surgery.
You are on continuous symptomatic treatment of indigestion or heartburn for 4 or more weeks.
You continuously suffer from indigestion or heartburn for 4 or more weeks.
You have jaundice or severe liver disease.
You are aged over 55 years with new or recently changed symptoms.
You have ever had a skin reaction after treatment with a medicine similar to Acid Reflux Tablets that reduces stomach acid.
If you get a rash on your skin, especially in areas exposed to the sun, tell your doctor as soon as you can, as you may need to stop your treatment with Acid Reflux Tablets.
Remember to also mention any other ill-effects like pain in your joints.
Patients should not take Acid Reflux Tablets as a preventative medication.
You should inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are
Taking clopidogrel (for clots and thrombi)
Taking Nelfinavir (used to treat HIV infection)
You are due to have a specific blood test (Chromogranin A)
Your body does not absorb vitamin B12 (cobalamin) very well
Some symptoms of heartburn might be a sign of more serious underlying conditions. If you experience heartburn, along with feeling lightheadedness, unexplained sweating, or tightness in your chest or arms, contact your doctor without delay.
Proton pump inhibitors like Omeprazole pose the risk of increasing your susceptibility to bone fractures, especially if you use the medication for a long time. Your doctor can provide you with ways to avoid bone loss/fracture, such as by taking Vitamin D supplements and calcium.
If you are pregnant, take this medication only when prescribed by your clinician and proven necessary. Omeprazole passes into breast milk though it is unlikely that it will influence your child when therapeutic doses are taken .Your clinician will determine whether it is safe for you to start this medication.