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Prilosec or the generic alternative called Omeprazole is used to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, heartburn and symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and to treat and maintain healing of erosive esophagitis. It is also used for long-term treatment of conditions where your stomach makes too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. The goal of treatment with Prilosec is to decrease the amount of acid produced in your stomach. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
The proton pump is an enzyme found in certain cells of your stomach and its job is to take a non-acidic ion out of your stomach and replace it with an acidic ion. The ion that the proton pump uses as a replacement makes the contents of your stomach more acidic. This can cause lesions in the stomach lining and an ulcer can form. To tone down the acidity, Prilosec works to interfere with the proton pump enzyme so less ions are replaced and your stomach can heal. This is also helpful for healing ulcers that are found in your esophagus from GERD.
There are two types of peptic ulcers: gastric ulcers are sores in the lining of the stomach, while duodenal ulcers occur in the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. A bacterium called H. pylori causes the majority of ulcers, while the other major cause of peptic ulcers is the use of ASA (acetylsalicylic acid) and other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
GERD occurs when the valve, known as the lower esophageal sphincter that normally keeps acid in the stomach isn't functioning properly. Acid that moves from the stomach into the esophagus damages its lining and can cause burning and pain. The most common symptoms of GERD are heartburn and a sensation of acid or stomach material coming back up into your throat or even your mouth.
GERD can sometimes lead to more serious conditions. The repeated backflow of acid from the stomach can irritate, inflame, and eventually erode the internal lining of the esophagus. This condition is referred to as erosive esophagitis.
You should check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to take Prilosec if you have any of the following medical conditions; liver disease, low levels of magnesium in your blood or if you have osteoporosis or low bone mineral density. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are breast feeding to be certain Prilosec is safe to take during this time.
If you take proton pump inhibitor medicines such as Prilosec in high doses for longer than a year, you may slightly increase the risk of breaking a bone in your hip, wrist or spine. You should not stop taking Prilosec without first consulting your doctor.
Prilosec may cause the levels of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium in the blood to change while taking this medication so your doctor may request you have regular blood tests to monitor their levels.
You should consult your physician if you experience the following symptoms while taking Prilosec: changes in vision; persistent diarrhea; joint pain, increased sensitivity to sunlight; muscle pain or cramps.