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omeprazole (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC)?

Heartburn is often confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to omeprazole or to any other benzimidazole medication such as albendazole (Albenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take omeprazole if you have liver disease or heart disease, or if you have low levels of magnesium in your blood.

Do not use over-the-counter omeprazole (Prilosec OTC) without the advice of a doctor if you have:

  • trouble or pain with swallowing;
  • bloody or black stools;
  • vomit that looks like blood or coffee grounds;
  • heartburn that has lasted for over 3 months;
  • frequent chest pain;
  • heartburn with wheezing;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • nausea or vomiting; or
  • stomach pain.

Some conditions are treated with a combination of omeprazole and antibiotics. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as omeprazole may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This effect has occurred mostly in people who have taken the medication long term or at high doses, and in those who are age 50 and older. It is not clear whether omeprazole is the actual cause of an increased risk of fracture. Before you take this medication, tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mineral density).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether omeprazole will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

Omeprazole can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are taking omeprazole.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 1 year old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Omeprazole is usually taken before eating. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Do not crush, chew, or break an enteric-coated tablet. Swallow the pill whole. The enteric-coated pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill could damage this coating.

You may open the delayed-release capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce to make swallowing easier. Swallow this mixture right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use. Discard the empty capsule.

Dissolve the powder in a small amount of water. Use 1 teaspoon of water for the 2.5-mg packet, or 1 Tablespoon of water for the 10-mg packet. Let the mixture stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir and drink right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.

Prilosec OTC (over-the-counter) should be taken only once every 24 hours for 14 days. Take the medicine in the morning before you eat breakfast. It may take up to 4 days for full effect. Do not take more than one tablet every 24 hours.

Allow at least 4 months to pass before you start another 14-day treatment with Prilosec OTC. Call your doctor if you have additional symptoms and need treatment before the 4 months has passed.

Do not crush, chew, or break a Prilosec OTC tablet. Swallow the pill whole.

Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the infection is completely cleared.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse while you are taking this medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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