omeprazole, omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate, Prilosec, Zegerid, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is omeprazole, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Omeprazole is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI) that block the production of acid by the stomach. Other drugs in the class include lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium). Proton pump inhibitors are used for the treatment of conditions such as ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which are all caused by stomach acid. Omeprazole, like other proton-pump inhibitors, blocks the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. By blocking the enzyme, the production of acid is decreased, and this allows the stomach and esophagus to heal. Zegerid contains omeprazole and an antacid (sodium bicarbonate). The FDA approved omeprazole in September 1989.

What brand names are available for omeprazole?

Prilosec, Zegerid, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC

Is omeprazole available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes (Prilosec)

Do I need a prescription for omeprazole?

Yes; No (Prilosec OTC, Zegerid OTC)

What are the side effects of omeprazole?

Omeprazole like other PPIs is well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:

Other important side effects include:

Each packet of Zegerid powder for oral suspension contains 460 mg of sodium and each capsule contains 304 mg of sodium. This should be taken into consideration in patients who need a sodium restricted diet.

Proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of Clostridium difficile infection. High doses and long-term use (1 year or longer) may increase the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine. Prolonged use also reduces absorption of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin).

Long-term use of PPIs has also been associated with low levels of magnesium (hypomagnesemia). Analysis of patients taking PPIs for long periods of time showed an increased risk of heart attacks.

Therefore, it is important to use the lowest doses and shortest duration of treatment necessary for the condition being treated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2015

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