Omeprazole is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough. This medication helps heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus, helps prevent ulcers, and may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. Omeprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). If you are self-treating with this medication, over-the-counter omeprazole products are used to treat frequent heartburn (occurring 2 or more days a week). Since it may take 1 to 4 days to have full effect, these products do not relieve heartburn right away. For over-the-counter products, carefully read the package instructions to make sure the product is right for you. Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar brand names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
Read the Medication Guide and the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking omeprazole and each time you get a refill. Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily, before a meal. If you are self-treating, follow all directions on the product package. Dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, the dosage is also based on weight. Do not increase your dose or take this drug more often than directed. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Do not crush, break, or chew this medication. Swallow the capsules whole. If you have trouble swallowing the capsule, you may open the capsule if it is not sealed and carefully sprinkle its contents on a spoonful of soft, cool applesauce. Swallow all of the mixture right away without chewing it. Then drink a glass of cool water to make sure you have swallowed all of the dose. Do not prepare the mixture ahead of time for later use. Doing so may destroy the drug. If needed, antacids may be taken along with this medication. If you are also taking sucralfate, take omeprazole at least 30 minutes before sucralfate. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Continue to take this medication for the prescribed length of treatment even if you are feeling better. If you are self-treating with the over-the-counter product, do not take it for more than 14 days unless directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens. If you are self-treating, tell your doctor if your heartburn persists after 14 days or if you need to use this medication more than once every 4 months. The risk of side effects goes up over time. Ask your doctor how long you should take this medication. If you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.
See also Precautions section. Headache or abdominal pain may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If your doctor has directed you to use this product, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: symptoms of a low magnesium blood level (such as unusually fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms, seizures), signs of lupus (such as rash on nose and cheeks, new or worsening joint pain). This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a type of bacteria. Do not use anti-diarrhea or opioid medications if you have any of the following symptoms because these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor right away if you develop: persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, fever, blood/mucus in your stool. Rarely, proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole) have caused vitamin B-12 deficiency. The risk is increased if they are taken every day for a long time (3 years or longer). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency (such as unusual weakness, sore tongue, or numbness/tingling of the hands/feet). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
See also How to Use section. Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval. Some products that may interact with this drug include: cilostazol, clopidogrel, methotrexate (especially high-dose treatment), rifampin, St John's wort. Some products need stomach acid so that the body can absorb them properly. Omeprazole decreases stomach acid, so it may change how well these products work. Some affected products include atazanavir, erlotinib, nelfinavir, pazopanib, rilpivirine, certain azole antifungals (itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole), among others. Omeprazole is very similar to esomeprazole. Do not use any medications containing esomeprazole while using omeprazole. This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests, possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: confusion, unusual sweating, blurred vision, unusually fast heartbeat.