Omeprazole is a type of medicine called a proton pump inhibitor, which is designed to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. Your doctor may prescribe it for a number of reasons, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition where acid from your stomach pushes its way into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as heartburn and eventually damage the tissues in the esophagus. Omeprazole is also used for a condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. People who have this condition produce an excessive amount of stomach acid. Your doctor may also use omeprazole to treat ulcers and a condition called dyspepsia, or to prevent bleeding of the gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor may prescribe omeprazole alone or along with an antibiotic to treat bacteria called H. pylori, which causes ulcers.
Omeprazole is sold under the brand name Prilosec and is sold both over the counter and by prescription. Follow directions carefully when taking omeprazole. It may take a few days for this medication to start working, particularly when it comes to relieving heartburn symptoms. You shouldn't take this medication on your own for more than 14 days without telling your doctor. And don't take it more than once every four months unless your doctor tells you to. Always let your doctor know before you stop taking this medication.
Some people taking omeprazole may experience side effects, including stomach symptoms such as constipation, gas or nausea and vomiting. Others may get headaches. Be sure to let your doctor know immediately if you have any of the following symptoms, which may potentially indicate a serious problem:
- A rash, hives, itching or swelling of any part of the face or throat, hands, feet or lower extremities
- Breathing problems or hoarseness
- Changes in heart rate or excessive tiredness
- Dizziness, muscle spasms, uncontrollable shaking or seizures
- Diarrhea, stomach pain or fever
It's also important to be aware that if you take omeprazole for a long period of time, it may weaken your stomach lining or make you more likely to experience certain types of bone fractures.
Omeprazole has been proven to be effective in treating GERD and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Visit our Omeprazole page to get more information about the drug and to get free Omeprazole coupons to save on the retail cost of the medication.