Q: I suffer from excessive belching. Could this be because of the Prilosec I take every day, which my doctor has prescribed?
A: Prilosec OTC (Merazole) is commonly prescribed to treat ulcers, reflux disease, and heartburn associated with GERD. It's also used for the long-term treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions. In clinical studies, the most common side effects reported with Prilosec include headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Prilosec. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Other causes of bloating and gas pains include the following: swallowing too much air, smoking, certain foods and beverages, prescription and nonprescription medications, nutritional supplements, dietary supplements, constipation, GERD, and certain medical conditions. Adopting certain lifestyle modifications can help alleviate bloating and gas symptoms. Try to chew food slowly; avoid drinking from a straw; avoid chewing gum or sucking on hard candy; avoid foods that are difficult to digest, such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, grapes, beans, or lentils; avoid foods, beverages, and candy containing sorbitol and fructose; avoid foods, beverages, medications, dietary supplements, and nutritional supplements containing the milk protein lactose if you are lactose intolerant; and don't smoke. Consuelo Worley, RPh, MS Pharm
What should I avoid while taking Merazole?
Merazole can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor before using anti-diarrhea medicine.
For the treatment of GERD and maintenance of healing of erosive esophagitis, the recommended daily dose for pediatric patients 1 to 16 years of age is as follows:
Patient Weight Merazole Daily Dose 5
On a per kg basis, the doses of Merazole required to heal erosive esophagitis in pediatric patients are greater than those for adults.
Alternative administrative options can be used for pediatric patients unable to swallow an intact capsule .
Greek yogurt and cilantro
As a dairy product, yogurt is a natural source of glutamine. This substance helps naturally reduce stomach acids. And, it can serve as one of many Merazole alternatives.
Q: Is there a substitute drug for Prilosec that is as effective, but cheaper?
A: Prilosec does have a generic equivalent, Merazole, which you may also want to inquire about. First, you may want to contact your insurance company, prior to speaking with your doctor, and request a formulary. A formulary is a list of the medications they prefer and the different levels of coverage specific to your plan. Then it is i mportant to contact your health care provider and based on your individual needs and the formulary list of covered medications, determine the best treatment option. For more information regarding Prilosec or Merazole, visit //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/prilosec Beth Isaac, PharmD
What are the side effects of Merazole?
Merazole like other PPIs is well-tolerated. The most common side effects are:
Other important side effects include:
Each packet of Zegerid powder for oral suspension contains 460 mg of sodium and each capsule contains 304 mg of sodium. This should be taken into consideration in patients who need a sodium-restricted diet.
Proton pump inhibitors may increase the risk of Clostridium difficile infection. High doses and long-term use (1 year or longer) may increase the risk of osteoporosis-related fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine. Prolonged use also reduces absorption of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin).
Long-term use of PPIs has also been associated with low levels of magnesium (hypomagnesemia). Analysis of patients taking PPIs for long periods of time showed an increased risk of heart attacks.
Therefore, it is important to use the lowest doses and shortest duration of treatment necessary for the condition being treated.
Concomitant Gastric Malignancy
Symptomatic response to therapy with Merazole does not preclude the presence of gastric malignancy.
Human gastric biopsy specimens have been obtained from more than 3000 patients (both children and adults) treated with Merazole in long-term clinical trials. The incidence of ECL cell hyperplasia in these studies increased with time; however, no case of ECL cell carcinoids, dysplasia, or neoplasia has been found in these patients. However, these studies are of insufficient duration and size to rule out the possible influence of long-term administration of Merazole on the development of any premalignant or malignant conditions.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Prescription Merazole is used alone or with other medications to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which backward flow of acid from the stomach causes heartburn and possible injury of the esophagus (the tube between the throat and stomach) in adults and children 1 year of age and older. Prescription Merazole is used to treat damage from GERD in adults and children 1 month of age and older. Prescription Merazole is used to allow the esophagus to heal and prevent further damage to the esophagus in adults and children 1 year of age and older with GERD. Prescription Merazole is also used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in adults. Prescription Merazole is also used to treat ulcers (sores in the lining of the stomach or intestine) and it is also used with other medications to treat and prevent the return of ulcers caused by a certain type of bacteria (H. pylori) in adults. Nonprescription (over-the-counter) Merazole is used to treat frequent heartburn (heartburn that occurs at least 2 or more days a week) in adults. Merazole is in a class of medications called proton-pump inhibitors. It works by decreasing the amount of acid made in the stomach.
Is Merazole safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Use of Merazole in pregnant women has not been adequately evaluated. Merazole should be used during pregnancy only if the benefits justify the unknown risks.
Merazole is excreted in breast milk and potentially could cause adverse effects in the infant.
Merazole is a medication prescribed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); peptic ulcer disease; erosive esophagitis; eosinophilic esophagitis; Zollinger-Ellilson syndrome; and medical conditions associated with gastric acid hypersecretion. In some cases, Merazole may also be utilized for the prophylaxis of upper gastrointestinal bleeding (in at-risk populations) and as an adjunct treatment for H. plyori infection.
Historical reports suggest that Merazole was first synthesized in the 1970s by chemists employed with the pharmaceutical company “Astra.” After successful clinical trials, Merazole received approval in 1988 for use throughout Europe under the trade name “Losec” – and in 1990 for use in the United States under the trade name “Prilosec.”
Though many individuals with gastrointestinal disorders derive noticeable benefit from the ongoing administration of Merazole, the medication can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. For this reason, if you’re using Merazole, it’s probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with potential side effects and adverse reactions that could emerge during treatment.
Merazole is present in human milk. Merazole concentrations were measured in breast milk of a woman following oral administration of 20 mg. The peak concentration of Merazole in breast milk was less than 7% of the peak serum concentration. This concentration would correspond to 0.004 mg of Merazole in 200 mL of milk. Caution should be exercised when PRILOSEC is administered to a nursing woman.