› Most people can take Omeprazole without any noticeable day-to-day side effects.
› Omeprazole lasts longer than other types of antacids (like Zantac, Pepcid, or Tums), and you only need to take it once or twice a day.
› You can take it in combination with a quick-acting antacid (like Maalox or Tums) if you need relief right away.
› In studies it was better than a placebo (sugar pill) and as good as other proton pump inhibitors at treating heartburn.
› Available as both a generic and over-the-counter option, so it's pretty affordable.
Downsides and risks
› Doesn't start working as fast as some other antacids like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox.
› Like with other proton pump inhibitors, long-term use can cause weak or broken bones.
› Can cause low levels of magnesium in the blood. You might need to take a magnesium supplement if you use Omeprazole long-term.
› Although the generic is affordable, other medications might still be cheaper than Omeprazole.
› Can interact with other drugs so be sure your doctor knows all the medicine you're taking before starting Omeprazole.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
› Take 1 hour before a meal.
› Don't chew or crush capsules; swallow them whole.
› If you have trouble swallowing you can carefully open the capsules and sprinkle the inside pellets onto applesauce. Swallow the applesauce without chewing or crushing the pellets.
› When using Omeprazole long-term, take a calcium citrate with vitamin D supplement daily to prevent bone loss. Be sure it's calcium citrate because it works the best when using a proton pump inhibitor.
› Get a blood test for your magnesium level once a year; you may need a magnesium supplement while using Omeprazole.
› Avoid drug interactions by telling your doctor all of the other medications or herbal supplements you take before starting Omeprazole.