How long does it take for Omeprazole to work?
Omeprazole is often prescribed to people with gastric conditions such as heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux, and ulcer. These conditions can be unsettling as they come with painful or uncomfortable symptoms such as a burning pain in your upper abdomen that may worsen before or after a meal, belching, nausea, or vomiting.
If you take omeprazole to relieve these symptoms, it is only right that you ask ‘how long does it take omeprazole to work?’ so you’ll know how long before you can get relief. Well, in this article, along with other information you may need to know about omeprazole, your question has been addressed also, you just have to keep reading.
Omeprazole is a drug classified as a proton pump inhibitor. It’s available both as an OTC medicine and also as a prescription medicine used to treat conditions such as symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, erosive esophagitis, gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, helicobacter pylori infections of the stomach lining and also some rare conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
All these conditions are usually due to increased stomach acidity, so omeprazole is taken to reverse this, that is decrease stomach acidity. Well, as we’ve said, omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor, and proton pumps are found in the lining of the stomach.
They’re enzymes that help to make stomach acid for food digestion. When you take omeprazole, it goes to block the pumps or enzymes from producing more stomach acid. Omeprazole is available in capsule, tablet, and liquid form. You may find it under different brand names such as Losec, Losec MUPS, Maperadec, and Mezzopram, but the most common brand name is Prilosec.
HOW AND WHEN TO TAKE OMEPRAZOLE
How you take omeprazole depends on the condition you’re using it for and your age. Your doctor will direct you on how to use it, what dose to take, and what time is best to take it. Ask your doctor any questions you may have about the drug. However, if you’re taking OTC omeprazole, then either get directions from your pharmacist or follow the instructions on the label of the drug.
The tablet form can be taken with or without food, whereas the capsule and liquid form should be taken on an empty stomach, preferably before breakfast, and usually once a day, but this depends on your condition. If you’ve been directed to take omeprazole twice a day, then take one dose in the morning and the other in the evening.
Swallow the tablet or capsule whole with water. Don’t split or chew it, but if you find it difficult to swallow the capsule, you can opt for the liquid form of the drug, or buy brands of omeprazole that makes their capsules easy to open. Then you can mix its content with a bit of water or sprinkle it on soft foods such as yogurt or apple puree. Doing usually differs from patient to patient, based on your condition.
For instance, if you’re taking an omeprazole tablet to treat:
- Duodenal ulcers: 20mg a day is the recommended dose for adults.
- GERD: 20mg a day for adults and children 1 year of age or older, the dose is usually between 5-20mg a day, depending on their body weight.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: 60mg once a day, for adults which may be adjusted if need be. For children, the dosage must be determined by a doctor.
If you miss a dose when taking omeprazole, take it as soon as you remember, but if that happens around the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your dosing schedule. Don’t double dose to make up for missed dose. Although it’s unlikely to cause any problems, check with your doctor if you take more than your recommended dose and you’re feeling dizzy or nauseous.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR OMEPRAZOLE TO WORK?
Omeprazole is coated so that the acid in the stomach does not inactivate it without it being digested and absorbed first, because that’s the only way it can work. But as much as you’d want to feel relieved the moment you take the drug, its effect is not instant. A few hours after you’ve taken your first dose of it, acid production in the stomach slows down, but you might not feel relieved until after 2-4 days of taking it.
That’s not to say that all symptoms disappear after 2-4 days of taking omeprazole, instead it means that symptoms begin to improve from then on until you no longer have symptoms, after some time of taking the drug. How long this takes depends on how serious your condition is.
Usually, for gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, it takes 3 months of treatment to see full improvements, while for duodenal ulcer, you should notice improvement of symptoms after 2 weeks of treatment and for gastric ulcer, at least 4 weeks, before you see some improvements.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE OMEPRAZOLE TO WORK IN BABIES?
Omeprazole is often prescribed for babies who have reflux. A baby is said to have reflux when they vomit during or shortly after being fed. The vomit might be in small or large quantities, with milk in it. As a parent, you can know if your baby is having reflux when you notice that they vomit, cough or hiccup when they’re being fed.
Other signs of reflux in babies are:
- No weight gain
- Discomfort when they’re lying flat
- Uneasiness when feeding
Usually, reflux in babies starts before they’re 8 weeks old, improves by their 6th month, and by the time they’re 1 year old, it must have stopped, however, some babies experience it later than this. But if your baby is older than 1 and still has reflux or has its first reflux in its 6th month, then you should contact a general practitioner.
They may recommend treatment with omeprazole which could take up to 2 weeks before you begin to notice an improvement in your baby. As symptoms improve, the dosage might be increased, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE OMEPRAZOLE TO WORK IN DOGS?
Like humans, dogs can suffer from gastrointestinal problems and when they do, an omeprazole tablet or capsule may be given to them orally, 30-60 minutes before they eat. Your vet will prescribe the dosage based on your dog’s condition and its response to treatment. Omeprazole may be given as an off-label treatment, that is to treat other conditions aside from gastrointestinal conditions, in dogs.
Conditions such as:
- Syringomyelia and Hydrocephalus: These are cystic abnormalities of the spinal cord, where cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the spinal cord, resulting in pain, weakness, and paralysis. In these conditions, omeprazole is believed to work by decreasing the production of cerebrospinal fluid.
- Kidney Disease: Giving omeprazole to dogs with kidney disease can help reduce stomach irritation caused by toxins from kidney disease. In normal health, these toxins are supposed to be flushed out through urine, but with kidney disease, they’re refluxed back into the bloodstream. These toxins are acidifiers, so omeprazole will work just as it would with stomach acid.
Omeprazole generally takes about 24-72 hours to work in dogs
IS IT SAFE TO TAKE OMEPRAZOLE FOR THE LONG TERM?
Very few medical conditions will require you to take omeprazole for the long term, often they’re for short-term use, anywhere from 10 days to 8 weeks. Long-term use of omeprazole is not safe as it not only increases your risk of having side effects such as headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, flatulence, constipation, and upper respiratory infection, but it also increases your risk of serious side effects.
Serious side effects due to omeprazole are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people, but long-term use of the drug may result in:
- Low blood magnesium levels that will have you feeling tired, confused, and dizzy and cause muscle twitches, shakiness, and irregular heartbeat.
- Bone fracture
- Gut infections
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Stomach cancer
If long-term use of omeprazole was recommended by your doctor, they would regularly check your health to determine if you should continue using the drug or not. It is believed that omeprazole works less when taken for too long, this is not known for a fact, however, at any time in your treatment, you feel it is no longer working, talk with your doctor.
Also, speak to your doctor when you begin to notice signs such as:
- Dysphagia (difficulty to swallow)
- Feeling or being sick
- Feeling full very quickly when eating
- Sudden unplanned weight loss
These are likely signs of stomach cancer.
Omeprazole is a common medication prescribed for gastrointestinal problems that are a result of high stomach acidity. It works by decreasing the production of acid in the stomach, but it only begins to work 2-4 days after you’ve started treatments, although you don’t notice at that time. Depending on your condition, and its severity, you may begin to notice gradual relief after 2-8 weeks of treatment.