Prilosec® - Side Effects, Injuries & Lawsuit Information
Prilosec® (Omeprazole) is a prescription heartburn medication manufactured by Proctor and Gamble. The drug is used to shut down the "acid factories" within the stomach, thereby decreasing the overall amount of acid. Prilosec® is primarily used to treat frequently occurring heartburn that's caused by excess stomach acid.
Prilosec® is sold with a prescription-only but is most commonly sold as an over the counter (OTC) version called Prilosec OTC®. While the prescription drug and the over the counter version contain exactly the same active ingredient, the two drugs are indicated for different uses.
Prescription Prilosec® is used to treat chronic conditions such as:
- Acid reflux (sometimes called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Ulcers of the stomach or duodenum
- As part of a course of treatment for H. Pylori infection (bacteria that can cause ulcers)
- Chronic conditions which involved excess stomach acid production (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome)
Over the counter Prilosec® is designated for the relief of frequent heartburn only. However, many doctors often instruct their patients to take Prilosec OTC® as an alternative to the prescription-only drug as a cost-saving measure. (Procter and Gamble claim that Prilosec OTC® costs consumers roughly half as much as other similar drugs.)
Both the prescription strength and over the counter versions of the drug have Omeprazole as their main active ingredients. However, prescription Prilosec® can be given in multiple dose strengths including 10, 20, and 40 mg tablets. It is also available in a powdered form and can be mixed with water.
Prilosec OTC® comes in a 20 mg delayed release caplet. The caplet is technically a 20.6 mg container of Omeprazole Magnesium but is the equivalent of a 20 mg tablet of straight Omeprazole.
Important Facts About Prilosec®
Prilosec® (Omeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor designed to shut down the acid producing cells in the lining of the stomach. This reduces the overall amount of acid and decreases the risk of acid moving its way up into the esophagus and burning the tender tissue. This acid reflux is actually what causes the burning or painful sensations known as heartburn.
Proton pump inhibitors such as Omeprazole have been linked to causing heart attack and arrhythmia. They have also been linked to bone breakage and osteoporosis. In addition, Omeprazole, can have adverse affects on nursing infants so mothers are strongly cautioned to discontinue nursing while using the drug or seek alternative treatment.
The drug may be administered to children under 18 but only under a doctor's instructions and observation (this is in part because heartburn in children may actually be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness and not due to excess stomach acid).
Prilosec® Overdose Dangers
While Prilosec® is generally regarded as safe and can be sold over the counter (Prilosec OTC®), it is still a powerful drug and can cause overdose if too much is ingested. All forms of the drug should only be taken as instructed by a physician or per the dosing instructions on the label.
Over the counter Prilosec® is only to be used as a short-term remedy for frequent heartburn. As such, it is intended to be taken daily but only for periods of up to 14 days. After that, patients must discontinue Prilosec® usage and not take the drug again for 4 months.
Symptoms of Prilosec® overdose may include:
- Nausea (which may or may not lead to vomiting)
- Vomiting (with or without nausea)
- Profuse sweating
- Flushing or "hot flashes"
- Confusion or disorientation
- Extreme drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Rapid or arrhythmic heartbeat
- Dry mouth ranging from mild to extreme
It is very important to note that a Prilosec® overdose may cause any of these symptoms in any combination. Individual patients may experience any or all of them in varying degrees and combinations. If left untreated, these symptoms may cause cardiac arrest, suffocation, even death.
In addition to the dangers of immediate overdose, taking this medication for longer than the 14 day period (or as prescribed by your doctor) can lead to dangerous Prilosec® side effects such as:
- Greater risk of heart attack
- Arrhythmic heartbeat
- Bone fracture
- And possibly respiratory infections
Speak With A Prilosec® Lawyer
If you've taken Prilosec®, Prilosec® OTC, or any of the generic drugs containing Omeprazole, and experienced adverse side effects, you may be entitled to compensation through filing a lawsuit. Contact us today to speak with a Prilosec® lawyer to discuss your case. Don't wait, your right to compensation may be denied if you wait too long.