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What Is Omeprazole? - Definition, Uses & Side Effects

Instructor: Lynee Carter
From this lesson you will learn about Omeprazole which is a medication that treats gastrointestinal problems. Find out how it works, the proper way to take it and the common to serious side effects.

Disclaimer: 'This information is for teaching purposes only. It is important that you consult with your doctor regarding any medical questions.'

What is Omeprazole?

Have you ever had a burning sensation in your chest after eating? Some people have GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) where heartburn occurs frequently due to stomach acid back flowing into the esophagus. The acid can also cause other problems such as a sour feeling in the stomach, gastrointestinal bleeding, gastric ulcers, and increased belching. A condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, where too much stomach acid is produced, can also occur.

Omeprazole is a medication that treats or prevents these conditions caused by stomach acid. It is classified as a proton-pump inhibitor and works by lowering the amount of acid produced in the stomach. A health care provider can prescribe Omeprazole or it can be taken as a nonprescription medication.

stomach acid

How to take Omeprazole Properly

When eating, the acid is released into the stomach to help break down the food. Since Omeprazole decreases stomach acid production, it should be taken at least one hour before eating. This allows a lower amount of acid to be available that causes gastrointestinal problems. Omeprazole is also a delayed release tablet or capsule. Stomach acid is so powerful, that it can break down Omeprazole, so it is contained in a protective coating until it reaches the intestine and released. It should not be split in half, chewed or crushed up, but taken with a full glass of water.

taking med

What are the Side Effects?

Headache is a common side effect. Other common side effects involve problems with the gastrointestinal system and include the following:

  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • gas

HA/stomach side effect

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