- Name: Prevacid
- Brand Name: Fenzer / Lan / Helicid / Zoton / Inhibitol / Takepron
- Active ingredient: Lansoprazole
- Used for: Excessive Stomach Acid
- Dosages (mg): 15/30
- Drug Class: Proton Pump Inhibitor
- What Is Prevacid?
- Prevacid Indications and Uses
- Prevacid Interactions with Other Drugs
- Before You Start Taking Prevacid
- Prevacid Complications and Side Effects
- How to Take Prevacid
What Is Prevacid (Lansoprazole)?
Prevacid is a medication which is often used to prevent and treat various health conditions which involve the production of excessive acid in the stomach, such as intestinal ulcers, stomach ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. It is a prescription medicine, but it also has an over-the-counter version, which is used to address frequent heartburn (heartburn which occurs two or more days in a week).
Prevacid is a proton pump inhibitor drug, and its main active component is lansoprazole. It works by gradually reducing the amount of acid which is produced in the stomach on a daily basis. Prevacid does not provide immediate relief for heartburn and other excessive acid symptoms, so it is important that it is taken exactly as prescribed to be effective.
Prevacid Indications and Uses
Prevacid can be taken by adults and children who are older than 12 months. In children and teenagers, Prevacid is mostly prescribed to address gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and erosive esophagitis.
In adults, the array of Prevacid uses is wider and includes the following conditions:
- Duodenal ulcers (both treatment and symptoms relief)
- H. pylori bacterial infection, which is known to be capable of causing duodenal ulcers
- Stomach ulcers
- GERD and its symptoms (heartburn, sour taste in the mouth, burning feeling in the throat and/or chest area, burping)
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Prevacid can also be used to provide long-term treatment of medical conditions which result in excessive acid production. It is also effective for healing the damage done by erosive esophagitis.
Prevacid Interactions with Other Drugs
Similarly to most medications, Prevacid has potentially dangerous interactions with other drugs. It is crucial that you have an appointment with your healthcare provider to make sure that it is safe for you to use Prevacid. Before you go to see him/her, write down all medications you are currently taking and show the list to your medical practitioner to make the most out of your appointment.
Be sure to include every medicine, whether it is a prescription or non-prescription drug, especially if they contain the following components:
- Ampicillin/clarithromycin-based antibiotics
- Iron-containing medicines
Prevacid may also affect the way other medications work, so sometimes a dosage adjustment is needed. Similarly, the medicines you take could also be hindering the beneficial effects of Prevacid, so it is important to keep track of every pharmaceutical you use and discuss the possible drug interactions with your healthcare provider.
Before You Start Taking Prevacid
Prevacid can interact not only with other medications but also with various health conditions.
People who experience one or more of the following conditions may not be able to take Prevacid:
- Lansoprazole allergies
- Liver disorders
- Low magnesium levels in blood
- Bone disorders, particularly osteoporosis or osteopenia
Your healthcare provider has to have access to your full medical history before he/she prescribes you Prevacid so that the risk of potentially dangerous interactions is minimized or eliminated. A list of the things you are allergic to is helpful as well because you might be allergic to one of the inactive components in Prevacid.
If you choose to use the over-the-counter version of Prevacid, you might still want to consult your medical practitioner before you start using the medication if you suffer from one of the following health problems:
- Painful or complicated swallowing
- Stomach pain
- Stools or vomit that is dark and could be containing blood
- Heartburn that has lasted over 3 months
- Weight loss with no visible reason
- Frequent chest pains
Prevacid OTC is only safe to use in patients who are older than 18. Children who are younger than 12 months are not to be given either version of Prevacid. There is no evidence of Prevacid harming an unborn baby, but it is still recommended that you inform your healthcare provider that you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant before you start taking Prevacid. It is still unknown whether Prevacid is capable of passing into breast milk and harming a nursing baby, so breastfeeding mothers should refrain from using Prevacid without consulting a medical practitioner first.
Prevacid is supposed to address heartburn, which is a condition that might be confused with a heart attack. If you feel generally ill, nauseated or dizzy and feel pain spreading through your chest and into one of your arms (particularly left one), you might be experiencing a heart attack. Do not hesitate to seek professional medical help because this condition could be dangerous for your life and overall well-being.
Prevacid Complications and Side Effects
Proton pump inhibitor drugs such as Prevacid may cause the bones to become weaker and more likely to fracture. This phenomenon is mostly observed in patients who are older than 50 and/or have been using Prevacid for a long time. If you belong in one or both of these groups, make sure that you make appropriate lifestyle changes to minimize the potential negative effect of Prevacid on your bones.
If you take Prevacid for a long time (more than 3 years), you might develop a vitamin B12 deficiency. This may happen due to the fact that vitamin B12 needs stomach acid to be absorbed into your system. When Prevacid reduces the amount of acid in your stomach, the vitamin may no longer be absorbed properly, so you might want to discuss measures of addressing the deficiency with your healthcare provider if you are a long-term Prevacid user.
The most common adverse effects of Prevacid are diarrhea and skin rash. The less common ones include the following:
- Sudden unexplained appetite changes
- Aching joints
- Stomach/abdominal pain
Prevacid also has some fairly rare side effects:
- Feeling depressed
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle pain
- Unusual bleeding or bruising for no apparent reason, such as rectal bleeding
If you find yourself experiencing any of the abovementioned symptoms after you have started taking Prevacid, you should consult your healthcare provider who will determine whether you should continue using the medication or not.
Minor side effects usually do not require any professional medical help, and they should go away of their own accord as the body adjusts itself to the intake of Prevacid. Should that not happen, you might need to stop taking the medication or reduce the dosage.
More serious side effects might require you to seek professional medical help immediately depending on their severity and duration. If you happen to experience any of them, do not hesitate to consult your medical practitioner about Prevacid because you might need to stop taking it immediately to avoid developing more serious adverse effects. He/she might also be able to help you find ways of dealing with the side effects or reducing them.
This is not a complete list of all Prevacid side effects, so you have to monitor your condition after you start taking the medication to avoid overseeing any potentially dangerous changes. If you experience any side effects which are not mentioned on the list, you might want to report them to the drug manufacturer so that they can be referenced in the future.
How to Take Prevacid
If you have a prescription for Prevacid, you should read it carefully and follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider. Do not change the dosage of your own accord without consulting your doctor first. Do not stop taking the medication earlier than you’re supposed to even if you notice that the symptoms of your medical condition are gone.
Prevacid comes in several forms: delayed-release capsules, oral suspension and orally disintegrating pills (SoluTab). Both these forms can be obtained in two different strengths: 15 mg and 30 mg. Prevacid should be taken prior to having a meal.
The capsules may have to be taken with a glass of specific liquid (follow the instructions in your prescription, and do not use any beverages other than specified by your doctor). You have to make sure that the capsules are swallowed whole and undamaged. If you break or crush a capsule accidentally, you must not take it because damaged coating interferes with the delayed release and allows too much of the medicine to get into your system immediately. If you are incapable of swallowing a delayed release Prevacid capsule whole, you have to break the pill and sprinkle its contents over a tablespoon of a number of foods, including yogurt, pudding and cottage cheese. This mixture has to be swallowed instantly and without chewing. If there is any of it left, do not save it for further use, but dispose of it together with the emptied pill coating. Ask your healthcare provider for further instructions.
The SoluTab form of Prevacid will dissolve in your mouth, so you don’t have to drink or eat anything with it. Make sure that your hands are clean and dry before you take the tablet, put it in your mouth and let it dissolve there. Do not chew or suck on the tablet, as it has to fully dissolve on its own. The SoluTab pills may not be given through an oral syringe or a feeding tube because the pill might not dissolve to the full extent and get stuck in the syringe or tube.
If you use the liquid form of Prevacid, you have to make sure that you are getting the correct dosage every time you take the medication. To do that, you might want to use a measuring device. If you do not own one, ask your local pharmacist to provide you with it. It is inadvisable that you use a regular spoon for measuring doses. Shake the bottle with Prevacid well before pouring out each dose.
Prevacid OTC is to be taken on a daily basis for 14 days. Allow 24 hours to pass between taking pills. Take Prevacid OTC in the mornings, before you have breakfast. You may not notice any effect of the medication in the first 4 days. The Prevacid OTC capsules are not to be broken, crushed or chewed on, but to be swallowed whole. You must wait at least 4 months before you start another 14-day treatment course with Prevacid OTC. If your symptoms persist despite using the medication, you might want to consult your healthcare provider about them.
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