Omeprazole vs Pepcid – Which Is Safer

Omeprazole (sold under the brand names Losec and Prilosec) belongs to a group of drugs called proton pump inhibitors.

These medicines decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach which produces the stomach acid.

This allows the esophagus and stomach to heal.

Uses

This drug is typically used for:

  • gastric ulcers in adults;
  • occasional heartburn (a sensation of burning in the chest);
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (an abnormal increase in acid production);
  • erosive esophagitis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach) in children and adults;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (when gastric acid from the stomach travels up into the esophagus) in children and adults;
  • eradication of Helicobacter pylori when combined with amoxicillin and/or clarithromycin.

Dosage

This drug comes in packets and delayed capsule form to be mixed with water to form a suspension (liquid).

The typical recommended dose is 10 mg to 40 mg once per day. However, the actual dose and length of treatment depends on the condition being treated and is determined by a healthcare provider.

It can be taken without or with food. The dose may need to be reduced in people with hepatic impairment.

If a sufferer does not respond after about two months of treatment, an additional month of treatment may be given.

If there is a recurrence of GERD or erosive esophagitis symptoms, additional 1 to 2 months of treatment may be considered.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • trouble having a bowel movement;
  • tiredness;
  • unusual drowsiness;
  • headache;
  • upset stomach;
  • throwing up;
  • gas;
  • stomach ache;
  • watery bowel movements.

Rare side effects may include:

  • chest pain;
  • pain during urination;
  • difficulty passing urine;
  • cloudy or bloody urine;
  • frequent need to pass urine;
  • yellow skin or eyes;
  • a lasting sore throat.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

No clinical trials have been done to evaluate the potential side effects of the use of this drug for pregnant and lactating women. Hence, stay on the safe side and avoid it as much as possible.

If you’re self-treating with this drug, don’t use it for longer than 14 days without checking with your healthcare professional.

B12 Deficiency

vitamin b12
Image credit – https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4907420699

Taking this medicine for 12 weeks or longer can lead to a deficiency of magnesium in the body. More importantly, the risk is considerably higher if you use it for 12 months or longer. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include:

  • low energy/fatigue;
  • sleep problems;
  • muscle cramps and spasms;
  • calcification of the arteries;
  • hormonal imbalance;
  • anxiety and depression;
  • pregnancy complaints;
  • hypertension.

There is also the possibility of iron and vitamin B12 malabsorption. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • vision loss;
  • muscle weakness;
  • problems walking;
  • nerve problems, such as – tingling or numbness;
  • gas;
  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea;
  • constipation;
  • a smooth tongue;
  • lightheadedness;
  • tiredness;
  • weakness;
  • pale skin;
  • shortness of breath;
  • heart palpitations.

Drug Interactions

Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any of the following drugs:

  • methotrexate;
  • erlotinib (used to treat cancer);
  • itraconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole, or posaconazole (used to treat infections caused by a fungus);
  • clopidogrel (used to prevent blood clots);
  • digoxin (used to treat heart problems);
  • saquinavir (used to treat HIV infection);
  • diazepam (used to relax muscles);
  • cilostazol (used to treat intermittent claudication);
  • phenytoin (used in epilepsy);
  • St John’s wort (a plant used to treat mild depression);
  • tacrolimus (in cases of organ transplantation);
  • atazanavir (used to treat HIV infection);
  • rifampicin (used to treat tuberculosis);
  • warfarin (used to thin the blood).

Alcoholalcohol

There are no known interactions with this medication and alcohol.

Pepcid

It is actually the brand name of a drug called famotidine. It is also available as a generic drug.

Famotidine belongs to a class of medicines called histamine-2 receptor blockers that works by decreasing the amount of acid the stomach produces.

Uses

It’s available as both an over-the-counter medicine and prescription medicine. In 1986, the Food and Drug Administration gave Marathon Pharmaceuticals (a privately held biopharmaceuticals company) approval to market this brand.

The over-the-counter form is typically used to treat and prevent heartburn caused by eating or drinking certain drinks or foods.

The prescription form is used to treat:

  • disorders where the stomach produces too much acid, like – Zollinger-Ellison syndrome;
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition in which backward flow of acid from the stomach causes injury of the esophagus and heartburn;
  • ulcers – sores on the lining of the small intestine or stomach.

Dosage

This drug can be found as a suspension and a tablet to be taken by mouth. The usual adult dose ranges from 20 mg to 40 mg twice per day, depending on the disorder being treated.

Side Effects

Common side effects may include:

  • constipation;
  • diarrhea;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • joint pain;
  • muscle cramps;
  • headache;
  • mood changes;
  • weakness;
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth.

Rare side effects may include:

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • numbness feeling;
  • seizure;
  • hallucinations;
  • confusion;
  • pounding heartbeat;
  • easy bruising.

Some people may experience an allergic reaction, with symptoms including – sudden onset of diarrhea, facial swelling, seizures, vomiting, shock, cold limbs, or pale gums.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Naproxen (Aleve) ;
  • Tizanidine (Zanaflex);
  • Atazanavir (Reyataz).

Omeprazole vs Pepcid – Which Is Safer?

They are different types of drugs, however, both can treat stomach problems (they don’t heal).

Nevertheless, Pepcid can cause more severe side effects, especially for individuals with kidney disease. Moreover, omeprazole works better at preventing stomach ulcers than histamine-2 receptor blockers.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8250305
https://www.drugs.com/answers/support-group/omeprazole/news/
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/019462s037lbl.pdf
https://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20170703/popular-heartburn-drugs-death-risk#1

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