What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking pantoprazole (Protonix)?
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 pantoprazole or to any other benzimidazole medication such as albendazole (Albenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
To make sure you can safely take pantoprazole, tell your doctor if you low levels of magnesium in your blood.
Some conditions must be treated long-term with pantoprazole. The chronic use of pantoprazole has caused stomach cancer in animal studies, but it is not known if this medication would have the same effects in humans. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk of developing stomach cancer.
Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as pantoprazole 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 pantoprazole 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).
Long-term treatment with pantoprazole may also make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B-12, resulting in a deficiency of this vitamin. Symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency may develop slowly and include pale skin, weakness, tired feeling, shortness of breath, and a fast heart rate. Talk with your doctor if you need long-term pantoprazole treatment and you have concerns about vitamin B-12 deficiency.
FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
Pantoprazole can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take pantoprazole (Protonix)?
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.
Pantoprazole tablets can be taken with or without food. Pantoprazole oral granules should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.
Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. Swallow it whole. The enteric-coated pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill will damage this coating.
The oral granules should be mixed only with applesauce or apple juice to make swallowing easy. Do not use any other type of liquid or soft food. Sprinkle the granules directly onto a teaspoon of applesauce and swallow this mixture right away without chewing. Or pour the granules into a cup with 1 teaspoon of apple juice, stir for 5 seconds and swallow right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more apple juice to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away. Do not save the granule mixture for later use.
To give pantoprazole granules through a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube:
This medication can cause you to have a false positive drug-screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug-screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking pantoprazole.
Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the condition is fully treated.
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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