Prilosec, commonly known as omeprazole, is a generic drug available as an oral capsule. It also comes as a liquid suspension to take orally. Prilosec is used to reduce the level of acid in your stomach providing relief from gastric or duodenal ulcers, erosive esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and hypersecretory conditions. It is also used in the medication of stomach infections caused by helicobacter pylori bacteria.

Prilosec comes as a prescription or OTC (over-the-counter) medication. It is a delayed-release drug, meaning that it slows down the medication’s release until it passes through the stomach. The delay prevents the drug from being inactivated by your stomach.


Prilosec is used to manage or treat conditions caused by too much stomach acid release. It can be helpful independently or as a combination therapy to take it with other drugs. It treats conditions such as:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Stomach infections resulting from helicobacter h-pylori bacteria.
  • Erosive esophagitis-this is acid-related damage to the esophagus, which is the tube that links your mouth to the stomach.
  • Stomach or gastric ulcers.
  • Duodenal ulcers which affect the first small part of your intestine.
  • Zollinger elision syndrome.

How it works

Prilosec belongs to a drug group known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat the same conditions. It works by reducing the level of acid produced in your stomach. That is by obstructing a system in your stomach cells known as the proton pump, which functions as the last acid production stage. The medication blocks the proton pump, and as a result, your stomach produces less acid, which minimizes the uncomfortable symptoms.

Many people suffering from GERD can take PPIs for a short period then switch to an alternative treatment like an H2 blocker such as ranitidine or cimetidine.

Side effects of Prilosec

The side effects of Prilosec differ in children and adults. A child may experience fever and other common symptoms in adults, including:

  • Stomach pain.

The above are some of the mild side effects which may go away after a few days or weeks. However, if you do not see any change, you should see a doctor immediately. There have been reported severe side effects of Prilosec linked with prolonged use. Lab research reported that Prilosec might cause dysfunctioning of the lining of the blood vessels or interfere with normal gut functioning. The dangerous side effects of Prilosec have led to Prilosec recall several times in the past. Some of the severe side effects include:

  • Low magnesium levels which may lead to problems such as seizures, muscle weakness, fast heartbeat, and jitteriness.
  • Kidney damage which leads to changes in urination and back and side pain.
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • Severe diarrhea which can be caused by clostridium difficile infection of your intestine. It can lead to symptoms such as watery stool, fever, and stomach pain.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus which leads to symptoms such as blood clots, weight loss, heartburn, and tiredness.
  • Growths in the lining of your stomach.


Before you begin taking any PPIs, consult with your doctor to ensure you need them. Although Prilosec is available as an OTC medication, it should not be used for a prolonged period without consulting with a doctor as it has some severe side effects.

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