Prilosec is the trademark brand name for omeprazole, an antacid drug that suppresses or decreases the amount of gastric acid secreted in the stomach. Prilosec is used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including duodenal and gastric ulcers.
By blocking an enzyme in the stomach wall that stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, Prilozec reduces the amount of such acid from being pulsed into the esophageal passage in a reflux reaction. It is generally thought that an overabundance of acid in the stomach will contribute to the acid reflux, as will obesity, pregnancy, or the wearing of tight fitting clothes. Therefore, a reduced quantity of acid sent up to the esophagus should cause less damage or irritation.
To fight acid reflux with Prilosec, look out for such symptoms as burning discomfort in the chest, difficulty in swallowing, and chronic chest pain. If you have heartburn more than once per week, you become more susceptible in contracting GERD; and so a course of treatment with Prilosec is advised. However, an occasional heartburn is not an uncommon thing and does not pose any risk of getting GERD.
Prilosec is not a prescription drug and so is readily available over the counter. Still, Prilosec is meant primarily for people who have frequent heartburns, such as getting it 2 to 3 times a week.
For Prilosec, one pill a day is enough to relieve heartburn for up to 24 hours, and this is part of a recommended 14-day course of therapy. This Prilosec treatment may be repeated once every 4 months if necessary, but not more than that. When undergoing a course of treatment, do not stop taking Prilosec even when you start to feel better.
Do not overdose on Prilosec. While it is generally true that high acidity in the stomach can lead to acid reflux, the opposite is ironically true as well. A lack of acid in the stomach can also prevent the stomach's exit valve to the small intestine from opening up. Instead, the contents in the stomach get to roll back up to the esophagus, and what little acid present may still cause irritation.
Your symptoms have improved and that's a good thing, but the condition still exists and so you need to carry through with the full length of treatment before this condition is considered as fully treated. If the heartburn condition does not improve or even worsen, you would need to consult with your doctor. However, this is not the only time you seek out your doctor.
As with all medicines, OTC or not, before taking Prilosec, always let your doctor know if you have any instance of painful swallowing, difficulty in swallowing, vomiting blood, and bloody or black stools.
Furthermore, if you have heartburn that has lasted three months or longer, or experience heartburn combined with wheezing, arm pain, jaw pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating, make sure you let your doctor know before taking Prilosec.
Contact your physician if you experience frequent chest pains, inexplicable weight loss, vomiting, nausea, or stomach pain while taking the medication.