Omeprazole is a well-known and widely used drug that belongs to the family of proton pump inhibitors. This drug acts in the stomach and its function is to reduce the formation of acid that is generated in gastric juices.
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What is omeprazole indicated for?
It is generally indicated in pathologies such as gastroesophageal reflux, digestive ulcers, associated with Helicobacter Pylori eradication treatment , dyspepsia and some tumors. It is also used in association with other drugs in high-risk patients or with medication that can affect the stomach lining. In many patients, treatment is self-limited and does not have to be done chronically.
Is it safe?
Omeprazole is a safe drug , but like any medication, its prescription must always be indicated by a doctor who knows the patient’s medical history, since it can have interactions with other drugs, present allergies to some of its components or decrease the absorption of some. nutrients.
Side effects and interactions
The most common side effects (may affect 1-10 in 100 people) are not serious. The data sheet indicates that it could cause headache, nausea or vomiting or mild digestive symptoms.
Its main interaction, for which the use of the drug is not recommended, is if you are taking nelfinavir, a drug used in the treatment of HIV. With the rest of antiretrovirals, it will also be necessary to consult before use.
It is important to inform your doctor if you are being treated with oral antifungals, digoxin, diazepam, phenytoin, warfarin, acenocuarol, rifampicin, tacrolimus, cilostazol, erlotinib, methotrexate, or cancer treatments before starting treatment.
How to take it?
It is recommended to take it in the morning with water, although it can also be taken with food.
On some occasions it has been proven that the chronic use of omeprazole can affect the malabsorption of some nutrients, the most prominent being those that lead to a deficit of vitamin B12, calcium and magnesium.
Regarding vitamin B12 deficiency , its decrease could cause anemia or neurological disorders. Hypomagnesemia can cause symptoms if severe, such as tetany, arrhythmias, or seizures. In the case of hypocalcaemia, current studies indicate that the profound decrease in acid, related to the use of PPIs, could interfere with calcium absorption and affect its delivery to the bone.
To avoid these problems, it is convenient to carry out analytical controls and check whether chronic treatment with omeprazole is indicated in patients who consume it daily and if the indication is not fulfilled, withdraw it.
It is important to clarify that omeprazole is not a gastric protector, it is a proton pump inhibitor that prevents the formation of new acid but does not eliminate the pre-existing one, for this you can use antacids such as almagate, bicarbonate… copious meals and heavy digestions, the controlled and occasional use of antacids is recommended, but above all, a healthy and balanced diet is recommended.