Omeprazole belongs to a class of medicines called proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) and was first launched under the brand name Losec. It is used to treat stomach ulcers as well as to relieve heartburn and indigestion.
Proton pumps are found on cells that line the stomach and are used by these cells to produce stomach acid. Omeprazole works by inhibiting the action of the proton pumps and this reduces the production of stomach acid.
Acid is produced in the stomach as a normal part of the digestive process. However, sometimes this acid can flow back into the food pipe (oesophagus). This is called gastro-oesophageal reflux leading to pain and a burning sensation known as heartburn. Stomach acid can also irritate and damage the lining of the oesophagus, causing a condition called reflux oesophagitis.
Omeprazole reduces the production of stomach acid and therefore stops excess acid flowing back into the oesophagus thus relieving heartburn symptoms associated with acid reflux. By reducing the amount of acid in the stomach and duodenum omeprazole also allows peptic ulcers to heal and prevents them from recurring. It also relieves the symptoms of indigestion caused by excess stomach acid.
Like any other prescription medication you must consult a doctor before using it.
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How to take Omeprazole
Omeprazole is usually taken before eating (at least 1 hour before a meal).
- Follow all directions on your prescription label.
- Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
What is the recommended doses of Omeprazole for adults?
The recommended doses of omeprazole for adults are given below:
- For reflux such as heartburn and acid regurgitation, 20 mg once a day for 4-8 weeks. (If there is no improvement after 8 weeks you should consult a doctor). Once the gullet is healed you can take 10mg a day as prevention.
- For ulcers in the upper part of the intestine (duodenal ulcer), 20 mg once a day for 2-4 weeks. If the ulcer has not fully healed after 4 weeks, the dose can be increased to 40 mg once a day for a further 4 weeks.
- For ulcers in the stomach (gastric ulcer), 20 mg once a day for 4 weeks. If the ulcer has not healed take the same dose for a further 4 weeks. If there are still symptoms then the dose can be increased to 40 mg once a day for another 8 weeks.
- To prevent duodenal and stomach ulcers from coming back the recommended dose is 10 mg or 20 mg once a day. This may be increased to 40 mg once a day if necessary.
- For duodenal and stomach ulcers caused by NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), 20 mg once a day for 4–8 weeks.
- To prevent duodenal and stomach ulcers if you are taking NSAIDs, 20 mg once a day.
- For ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection and to stop them coming back, 20 mg twice a day for one week. (You should also be taking antibiotics at the same time, please consult a doctor for advice).
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Like all medicines, Omeparzole can cause side effects although not everybody gets them. The side effects reported in association with the use of Omeparzole are usually mild to moderate and of a short duration.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people):
- Disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or wind (flatulence).
Uncommon (affect between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000 people):
- Dizziness or spinning sensation,
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia),
- Pins and needles sensations (paraesthesia),
- Increased liver enzymes,
- Skin reactions such as rash, hives, itching or dermatitis,
- Feeling generally unwell (malaise),
- Swelling of the legs and ankles due to excess fluid retention (peripheral oedema),
- Fracture of the hip, wrist or spine in people with osteoporosis (see cautions).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with omeprazole, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult a doctor or pharmacist.