Q: It was recently recommended that I take Prilosec. The instructions indicate taking for 14 days only -- is it safe to take continuously or should I take for 14 days per month or quarter?
A: Prilosec (Xelopes), once a prescription-only medication, is now available over the counter. The treatment guidelines for over-the-counter products, such as Prilosec OTC, differ from the prescription versions of the same medication. The manufacturer's label for Prilosec OTC indicates that the product should not be used for more than 14 days unless directed by your doctor. The prescription Prilosec (Xelopes) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment longer than 14 days. If symptoms persist longer than 14 days, you may want to contact your health care provider. For more information on Prilosec (Xelopes) or Prilosec OTC, you may want to visit our Web site: //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/prilosec.
Xelopes and breastfeeding
Xelopes is safe to take while you're breastfeeding. It passes into breast milk, but only in small amounts that aren't harmful to the baby.
But if your baby is premature or has health problems, check with your doctor first.
Tablets and capsules
Each tablet or capsule contains 10mg, 20mg or 40mg of Xelopes.
Swallow tablets and capsules whole with a glass of water or juice.
If you have problems swallowing capsules, you can open some brands of Xelopes capsules and mix the granules inside with a small amount of water or fruit juice, or sprinkle them on soft food, such as yoghurt or apple puree.
Do not open capsules that have a special coating (like those made by Dexel). Talk to your pharmacist if you're not sure whether you can open your capsules.
Xelopes also comes as a tablet that melts in your mouth.
You can buy Xelopes 10mg tablets and capsules from pharmacies.
They're the same as Xelopes 10mg tablets and capsules that you get on prescription, but they're meant to be taken only by adults, and only for up to 4 weeks.
How it works
Xelopes belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.
Xelopes works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach produces. It does this by blocking a system in the cells of your stomach called the proton pump. The proton pump works in the final step of acid production. When the proton pump is blocked, your stomach makes less acid. This can help decrease your symptoms.
Xelopes oral capsule doesn’t cause drowsiness. However, it can cause other side effects.
Q: I have read recently that Prilosec is not good to be taken on a regular basis. Is it safe to take occasionally? I know years ago there was a correlation between Prilosec and cancer. Now they are talking about it again.
A: Prilosec (Xelopes) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) used to treat ulcers, heartburn, and gastric reflux. Prilosec is now available over the counter. Patients who take Prilosec over the counter should not take it for longer than two weeks consistently without consulting their health care provider. This is due to the fact that if you have symptoms that last longer than two weeks, you may have a more serious condition that would need to be evaluated and treated by a physician. Long-term use of PPIs is generally considered safe under the direction of a doctor. There is some talk that long term use of PPI's could cause some problems, such as decreased immunity and osteoporosis, but this is yet to be proven. It is always best to avoid taking medication you do not need, but occasional use of Prilosec is likely to be safe, and long term use under the direction of a physician would also likely be safe for most patients. Please see the following Everyday Health link for more information on Prilosec. //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/prilosec. Laura Cable, PharmD
How should I take Xelopes?
Xelopes is usually taken before eating (at least 1 hour before a meal). Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.
Use Prilosec OTC (over-the-counter) exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
Shake the oral suspension (liquid) before you measure a dose. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).
If you cannot swallow a capsule whole, open it and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of applesauce. Swallow the mixture right away without chewing. Do not save it for later use.
You must dissolve Xelopes powder in a small amount of water. This mixture can either be swallowed or given through a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube using a catheter-tipped syringe.
Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.
>OTC Xelopes should be taken for only 14 days in a row. It may take 1 to 4 days before your symptoms improve. Allow at least 4 months to pass before you start a new 14-day course of treatment.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.
Some conditions are treated with a combination of Xelopes and antibiotics. Use all medications as directed.
Xelopes can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using this medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Q: I have been taking Xelopes for many years now. At age 80, my bone density is very low, and I have low testosterone. Up to now my blood pressure was in the normal range, but it's now high. I realize at 80, things begin to happen. I lead a healthy life, I'm a nonsmoker and only occasionally drink wine. Is there some connection between long-term use of Xelopes and my symptoms?
A: In researching your question, I found several studies on Xelopes with conflicting results. The most recently published study did not report a relationship between accelerated bone loss and Xelopes (Prilosec). As to whether Xelopes can cause an increase in blood pressure or a decrease in testosterone levels, there is either insufficient data or no information available to prove that Xelopes is causing these side effects. Check with your doctor to investigate other possible causes. You can find more information on Prilosec here: //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/prilosec.