Omeprazole for acid reflux is effective because it promotes healing of the esophagus and inhibits further esophageal irritation. In addition to treating acid reflux, which is a medical condition where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus causing irritation and heartburn, omeprazole can treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a condition where too much acid is produced in the stomach, and stomach ulcers.
Using omeprazole for acid reflux is generally safe, though mild side effects can occur. Side effects of omeprazole include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. In addition, constipation, excessive gas, fever, and headache can occur. Other, more serious side effects can occur such as hives, skin rash, itching, and difficulty breathing. When these occur as a result of taking omeprazole for acid reflux, the physician should be immediately notified.
It is important to note that people who take omeprazole for acid reflux may be at risk for fractures of the hips, wrists, and spine. Although rare, fractures related to taking omeprazole are a risk for patients who have taken the medication for longer than one year, and those who are 50 years old and older. In addition, taking omeprazole for acid reflux may contribute to a weakening in the lining of the stomach.
Patients should discuss taking omeprazole with their doctors before using this medicine, which can be purchased over the counter. Telling the physician which medications are currently being taken may avert omeprazole drug interactions. In addition, the physician or pharmacist can give the patient a copy of the information provided by the manufacturer in case he has further questions or concerns.
When taking omeprazole for acid reflux, doctors typically recommended a once-daily dosage. The medication can, however, be taken twice a day, and as much as three times a day, when being used for conditions where the stomach manufactures an excessive amount of stomach acid. If side effects occur, they should immediately be brought to the attention of the physician, who can recommend alternative methods of treatment, especially if the side effects are severe.
Women who are pregnant, breast feeding, or planning on becoming pregnant should discuss taking omeprazole for acid reflux with their health care providers. Similarly, those who have allergies, osteoporosis, low blood levels of magnesium or potassium, and those with stomach or liver problems should not take omeprazole unless under the strict supervision of a physician.