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Medication Monday: Prilosec

Prilosec belongs to a class of acid-suppressing drugs and antacids. It treats stomach and esophagus problems like acid reflux and ulcers – symptoms of which can include frequent heartburn (defined as two or more times a week), difficulty swallowing and persistent cough – by reducing the amount of excess acids produced by the stomach.

Prilosec helps to heal damage to the stomach and esophagus caused by acids and helps prevent ulcers. It may also help prevent cancer of the esophagus. Prilosec isn’t intended for immediate relief of heartburn as it may take up to four days to take full effect.

There are three types of these drugs:
H2 antagonists (histamine, or H2 blockers) are available in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) strengths. They block histamine receptors on the cells that comprise the mucous membrane lining of the stomach. Histamine is a chemical that, in part, triggers the release of stomach acids to aid in digestion. H2 antagonists decrease production and secretion of these acids. Brand names include Pepcid, Tagamet, and Axid.
Proton-pump inhibitors block the acid transporter on the luminal surface – the lining – of the small and large intestine in your gastrointestinal tract. This prevents acid from entering the lumen. Brand names include Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid.

​Antacids, which are available OTC and don’t require a doctor’s prescription, act by neutralizing the acid in the stomach and by inhibiting a powerful enzyme in gastric juices called pepsin. Pepsin digests proteins in the foods you eat and dairy products. Antacids are effective against heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion and stomach upset. Popular brand names include Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, and Mylanta.

Just as there are benefits to taking Prilosec, there are potential side effects as well. Two less common ones may include headache and abdominal pain, neither of which require immediate medical attention unless they persist or worsen. More serious side effects requiring immediate medical attention could include symptoms of low magnesium blood level – like unusually fast, slow or irregular heartbeat; persistent muscle spasms and seizures; or signs of lupus, like rash on your nose and cheeks, or new or worsening joint pain.

In addition to side effects, Prilosec can cause depletions of vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and iron, as well as beneficial bacteria.

These medications have their purposes, but were designed to be used for short amounts of time, not for long term use.

Freedom pharmacists have an effective plan to taper those wanting to get off or lessen the use of PPI’s due to the long term side effects that result in possible disease states. We are available for a free short consult to explain this process and help one transition to a safer more natural approach to help ease reflux and aid in repairing the esophageal and stomach lining.

Freedom Pharmacy carries numerous supplements that can help you offset these depletions. Explore some at the link below:
For a personalized consultation on selecting a supplement or group of supplements, contact one of our pharmacists today!