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Carafate (called Sulcrate in Canada) is a prescription medication your doctor may recommend for treating the symptoms of an ulcer, such as acid reflux, burping, dull stomach pain, and for those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Carafate or generic Sucralfate is not prescribed to treat ulcers caused by the over or long-term use of non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as this type of ulcer is caused by an increased secretion of acid and not from diminished protection of your stomach lining. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
When taken as directed, Carafate is minimally absorbed into your body with actions being entirely on your stomach lining and duodenum. The active ingredients of Carafate will bind to and coat the surface of the ulcer/ulcers to limit any further damage. It is also thought that Carafate increases the production of prostaglandins, these lipids help inhibit the secretion of acid while stimulating mucus production that protects your stomach lining from the harsh acids.
Certain cells in the gastric glands of your stomach are stimulated to produce acid, mainly hydrochloric acid, when you eat a meal. This activates the secretion of an enzyme that digests the protein from your meal. The acid is also essential to prevent the growth of bacteria that can occur when food is in your stomach, waiting to be digested.
Usually there is a balance between the acid that you make and the mucus barrier protecting the stomach lining. If that is altered in any way, your stomach lining may become vulnerable and inflammation or an ulcer could develop in a weakened area.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding before taking Carafate in case there could be a risk to your unborn or nursing baby. Explain other medical conditions or allergies to your doctor and list any OTC and Rx drugs you currently take or use, including herbal remedies and dietary or vitamin supplements. This will determine if Carafate is safe for you to take.
Take Carafate for the entire time period prescribed, even if you are feeling better. Carafate can make it more difficult to absorb other medications; so it should be taken either two hours before or after other medications. Avoid taking antacid products unless recommended by your doctor. Keep Carafate and all other drugs out of children’s reach and never share your meds with others.