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Omeprazole (Prilosec®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • The newest drugs used in the treatment of ulcers and heartburn (acid reflux from the stomach) belong to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Omeprazole is such a drug and has been used for the treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers.
  • Omeprazole inhibits the movement of hydrogen ions – a constituent of hydrochloric stomach acid. Through this effect, omeprazole blocks acid secretion in the stomach. This creates a more favorable stomach pH to allow ulcers to heal.
  • The duration of effect for omeprazole is 24 hours.
  • Omeprazole is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Prilosec®, Losec® in Canada (Astra-Merck)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Omeprazole

  • Omeprazole is used in the treatment and prevention of stomach (gastric) and intestinal ulcers.
  • Omeprazole promotes ulcer healing in animals with ulcers or erosions (shallow depressions in the stomach lining).
  • Omeprazole may be useful in treatment of ulcers caused by ulcerogenic drugs (such as aspirin).
  • Another use is management of acid reflux disease to reduce injury to the esophagus (food tube) caused by the upward movement of stomach acid.

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, omeprazole can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Omeprazole should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Omeprazole should be used with caution in animals with liver disease.
  • Omeprazole may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with omeprazole. Such drugs include diazepam, ketoconazole and ampicillin.
  • Adverse reactions to omeprazole are uncommon as long as recommended doses are administered. Occasionally, some animals develop nausea, vomiting, flatulence, diarrhea or loose stools.
  • Very rarely, omeprazole has precipitated some urinary tract infections and nervous system changes.

    How Omeprazole Is Supplied

  • Omeprazole is supplied in 10 and 20 mg tablets.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The typical dose administered to animals is 0.25 to 0.5 mg per pound (0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg), every 24 hours or once daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse or prevent the development of resistance.

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