Medically Reviewed on 11/7/2022

Brand Name: Protonix

Generic Name: pantoprazole

Drug Class: Proton Pump Inhibitors

What is pantoprazole (Protonix)? How does it work (mechanism of action)?

Pantoprazole is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which block acid production by the stomach. Other drugs in the same class include lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec) and rabeprazole (Aciphex). Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat stomach conditions such as duodenal and peptic ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome caused by stomach acid.

Pantoprazole, 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, allowing the stomach and esophagus to heal.

The FDA approved Pantoprazole in February 2000.

What are the uses for Protonix?

Pantoprazole is approved for:

What are the side effects of Protonix?

Pantoprazole like other PPIs is well tolerated.

The most common side effects are:

Rare side effects include:

Other reported side effects include:

High doses and long-term use (1 year or longer) of pantoprazole may increase the risk of osteoporosis-related hip, wrist, or spine fractures. Therefore, it is essential to use the lowest doses and shortest duration of treatment necessary for the condition being treated.

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 hip, wrist, or spine fractures. Prolonged use also reduces the 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 showed an increased risk of heart attacks.

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

What is the dosage for Protonix?

  • Pantoprazole is used for treating GERD and healing erosive esophagitis the recommended dose for adults is 40 mg daily for 4-8 weeks.
  • The dose for treating Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is 40 mg twice daily.
  • It is recommended that tablets be taken approximately 30 minutes before meals for maximal effectiveness. Tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed, split, or chewed.


Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions See Slideshow

Which drugs or supplements interact with Protonix?

  • Pantoprazole is less likely than omeprazole (Nexium) to interact with other drugs.
  • The absorption of certain drugs may be affected by stomach acidity. As a result, pantoprazole and other PPIs that reduce stomach acid also reduce the absorption and concentration in the blood of ketoconazole (Nizoral) and increase the absorption and engagement in the blood of digoxin (Lanoxin). This may lead to reduced effectiveness of ketoconazole or increased digoxin toxicity, respectively.
  • Pantoprazole may increase blood level of methotrexate (Trexall, Methotrexate).
  • Proton pump inhibitors reduce blood levels of atazanavir (Reyataz) or nelfinavir (Viracept), reducing their effect.
  • Proton pump inhibitors may also increase the action of warfarin (Coumadin. Jantoven), increasing the risk of bleeding.
  • False positive urine screening tests for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) may occur in patients receiving proton pump inhibitors. An alternative confirmatory method should be considered to verify positive results.

Is Protonix safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

The use of pantoprazole in pregnant women has not been adequately evaluated.

Pantoprazole has not been studied in females who are nursing.

What else should I know about Protonix?

Protonix is available as:

  • Tablets (Delayed Release): 20, 40 mg.
  • Suspension: 40 mg.
  • Injection: 40 mg

Pantoprazole should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F). Keep away from moisture.

Pantoprazole is available in generic form over the counter (OTC) or by a prescription from your doctor.


Pantoprazole, brand name Protonix, is a drug that belongs to the class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Protonix is used for the treatment of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), stomach (peptic) and duodenum ulcers, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Side effects of Protonix include phototoxicity (sensitivity to light) dizziness, rash, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea constipation, headaches, stomach pain, gas, dizziness, and joint pain. Serious side effects of Protonix are live damage, rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown), pancreatitis, and reduces levels of blood cells. Adverse effects and risks of Protonix used in high doses and long-term (one year or longer) include osteoporosis, C. diff infection, low levels of magnesium, and heart attacks.

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See more info: pantoprazole on RxList
Medically Reviewed on 11/7/2022
FDA Prescribing Information.