Omeprazole is prescribed for a short period of time – usually 4-8 weeks – to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach (the duodenum). It is also effective in treating gastro-oesophageal reflux, the backward flow of stomach acid contents into the oesophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach).
It is prescribed for longer periods of time to treat patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a rare condition associated with a tumour that creates high levels of stomach-acid secretion.
In some cases, omeprazole is prescribed along with other medication (often two different antibiotics) to eradicate H. pylori, a cause of stomach ulcers. It is also registered for the short-term treatment of severe reflux oesophagitis in children older than 12 months.
For this drug to remain effective, it has to be taken regularly. An ulcer may recur when you stop treatment prematurely.
Omeprazole can mask the symptoms and may delay the diagnosis of stomach cancers. Possible malignancy should be excluded prior to the start of treatment.
How does omeprazole work?
This medication decreases the production of acid in the stomach as a result of blocking an enzyme needed for this process.
Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: omeprazole is available as capsules, tablets and as an injection
What does it do ? omeprazole reduces stomach-acid production
Overdose risk : low
Dependence risk: low
Is omeprazole available as a generic? yes
Is omeprazole available on prescription only? yes
Onset of effect: within 3 hours
Duration of action: up to 24 hours
Dietary advice: take immediately before a meal; avoid food that may increase the production of stomach acid, i.e. alcohol, spicy meals etc.
Stopping this medicine: do not discontinue using this medication without consulting your prescriber as symptoms may recur with premature discontinuation
Prolonged use: although few problems are expected, omeprazole is not intended for indefinite use – a typical course of this medication is 8 weeks
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:
- you have liver disease
- you are taking any other medication
Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children and should only be prescribed by a paediatrician.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.
Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizzines and/or light-headedness. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.
Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may aggravate your condition and reduce the apparent efficacy of this medication.
Source Reference – Health24.com