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Prilosec helps heartburn. I have taken Prilosec for years. It can be used in many dosages, helps different diagnoses, and is cheaper than alternative meds. It is different from Tums or Rolaids.
Note: Do you have frequent, recurring heartburn? Prilosec is used for chronic problems.
Note 2: Tums treats a single episode of heartburn. It may be better to use Prilosec if heartburn is frequent.
Side effects: Prilosec has serious side effects. It leads to weight gain. It may not prevent damage to your esophagus.
Tums, Prilosec. Tums and Prilosec are antacids, but are different in how they work. As a heartburn sufferer, I am asked about how to choose the right antacid. Here I compare Tums and Prilosec, which treat the same symptom in different ways.
Note: Tums and Prilosec are both antacids that treat heartburn. They are used in different forms of heartburn.
Tums is a short-acting calcium antacid. Because of its calcium, it is a good idea not to take too much Tums as it will give you too much calcium. If you get acute heartburn after eating a meal, Tums will likely make you feel better.Calcium, Foods
Note: If Tums makes you feel better, it may not be treating your problem. Some serious problems can be helped with calcium antacids.
How frequent is your heartburn? If you only get heartburn after eating heavy meals, using Tums to treat the symptom is a decent plan. Tums is very effective in treating the burning pain in your esophagus.
However: If your heartburn is frequent, then a medication like Prilosec is better. It won't result in excess calcium.
Prilosec, called omeprazole, is available over-the-counter. It is used to treat frequent heartburn. You take it once a day. It comes in little purple pills. Prilosec has no minerals like calcium in it.
Instead: It is a drug that reduces the action of the proton pumps in your stomach. It is a proton pump inhibitor.
If you get heartburn nearly every day, Prilosec may improve your quality of life. You may qualify for the diagnosis of GERD, which is frequent heartburn. If you need antacids every day, Prilosec may be better in some ways.
Use. What conditions are helped by Prilosec? This medication is a PPI, a proton pump inhibitor. It is a drug, not a supplement. It has a longer period of action. If your heartburn is short term and occasional, Prilosec is not needed.
For those with longer term problems, such as daily heartburn regardless of diet, Prilosec is appropriate. Heartburn is sometimes severe. It is usually called GERD—gastroesophageal reflux disease—in these cases.
People who have less common or less severe heartburn conditions can consider other options. For example, even baking soda can be used to alleviate heartburn. And Tums and Rolaids can be used to treat occasional heartburn.Baking Soda and Heartburn
Standard dose: The standard dose of Prilosec (omeprazole) is 20 mg a day. Many users take one purple pill in the morning.
Tip: It is fine to take one in the evening—as long as it is every 24 hours. Prilosec may require an entire 24 hours to start working.
Higher doses. Occasionally, heartburn patients need to take a double-dose of Prilosec to get the adequate effect. Our bodies are all different. Some may need higher dosages of medications.
However, in this case, I advise talking to a physician about increasing your Prilosec dose. The regular dose of 20 mg might not be enough because you have a different health condition. Other health problems could be involved.
Gallbladder problems. Jeremy has gallbladder disease. As part of his condition, which he had surgery for, he takes Prilosec 20 mg every day. This helps him with his chronic heartburn.
Again: If you have a complex health condition like Jeremy additional medical advice may be needed.
Cost. What is the cost of Prilosec in 2012 in the United States? The 42-count tablet boxes are usually cheapest. Amazon.com sells Prilosec for 41 cents to 53 cents per tablet. So Prilosec will cost you about half a dollar per day.
Note: This is good motivation to exercise every day. For many, heartburn is relieved with weight loss.
And: Exercise itself may help the digestive system as well. Tums or Rolaids may be cheaper depending on how much you use.
Aciphex and other drugs. Cathleen was prescribed AcipHex for her heartburn. The diagnosis was GERD. Unfortunately, she had insurance that did not cover the cost, which amounted to hundreds of dollars a month (about $249.99).AcipHex
And: She tried to save money at a different pharmacy, but her budget didn't allow it.
Tip: I advised Cathleen to try Prilosec OTC. She found it worked just as well. She now saves almost $200 a month by taking Prilosec.
Story. Years ago, my heartburn became severe. I had started taking other medications. These medications caused me to gain weight. This might have triggered my heartburn. I also started lifting weights, which also causes heartburn.
"Ouch!" I said.
I remember the first time in my life I reached for Tums, an antacid. I had no idea what heartburn felt like before. I thought Tums were just candy.
My heartburn problem developed into something chronic. It was severe. I visited my doctor and was given Prevacid. I decided to take Prilosec because it was available over the counter. This meant it was cheaper.
Prilosec has not caused me any problems. I do not know how healthy it is to take long-term. It is not considered harmful by many doctors. It is important to not just take Prilosec to treat acid reflux.
Note: Other strategies, like tilting up the head of your bed, are helpful. It is important to exercise, whether you are overweight or not.
Weight gain. Does Prilosec and other medications such as Prevacid result in weight gain when taken over long periods? Unfortunately, most medications have undesired side effects. Weight gain is a common one.
Note: Prilosec causes weight gain—this is an advantage Tums has over Prilosec.
We look at the abstract from the public medical database of a study called "Long-term treatment with proton pump inhibitor is associated with undesired weight gain." This study was undertaken in a hospital in Kitakyushu, Japan.
Info: Patients who had GERD and took PPI (proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec) over an average of 2.2 years gained weight.Long-term treatment with proton pump inhibitor
Before the study started, the patients with GERD weighed on average 56.4 kg. After taking medication for over two years, the patients weighed 58.6 kg. In pounds, the patients went from 124.3 to 129.2 pounds, a weight gain of 4.9 lbs.
Tip: Every experiment should use a control population: this study did. The control population did not gain any weight on average.
Therefore, the patients treated with PPI medications (such as Prilosec) gained 4.9 pounds over two years while the control patients did not. This indicates that Prilosec-type drugs can cause weight gain.
Vitiligo. Medical symptoms are interesting and interconnected. Medications can in rare cases cause many different things. For example, could Prilosec possibly cause or worsen vitiligo, the depigmentation of skin? I set out to answer this.
Note: Prilosec is associated with vitiligo. This is one reason why Tums might be preferred.
The answer, from my limited research, is that Prilosec (omeprazole) could make vitiligo worse. This quotation refers to the "enhanced destruction" of pigmentation. Thus Prilosec is associated with vitiligo, at least in certain cases.
Namazi suggested that proton pump inhibitors could lead to enhanced destruction of melanocytes in vitiligo by apoptosis.Proton Pump Inhibitor, Vitiligo
Obviously, the co-occurrence of GERD (and its treatment with Prilosec) and vitiligo is possible, even if the two conditions are unrelated. Therefore it is not right to say that Prilosec would have caused a specific case of vitiligo.
And: Prilosec does not cause vitiligo for most patients, simply because most patients who take Prilosec do not have vitiligo.
Cancer. When stomach acid contacts the esophagus, damage occurs. Changes in cells lead to cancer of the esophagus. This is a very severe condition. It has limited treatment options and is often fatal.
Tip: The book GERD: Reflux to Esophageal Adenocarcinoma by Chandrasoma and DeMeester explores this condition.
And: It states that medications like Prilosec and Tums do not prevent damage from occurring. They just reduce the discomfort.Heartburn, DeathGERD Prevalence
Summary. Prilosec is a popular medication. It is effective. It is different from Tums. Underlying possible health conditions should be investigated by a physician. Regular exercise should be performed if possible.
Also: Weight loss and other lifestyle modifications are important. Prilosec is not expensive but has some cost.