Many categories of drugs are used for the treatment of ulcers. Though the mode of functioning may be different, most drugs work to reduce ulcerous conditions. For example – sucralfate is an anti-ulcer medication while meds belonging to a category called proton pump inhibitors can also treat ulcers. Proton pump inhibitors help decrease acidity in your gastric tract. Once acid levels are reduced, you may find relief from pain, swelling and / or rupture of the inner linings of your abdomen. But, can you take drugs like omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor) along with ulcer meds like sucralfate? It is a wide thing to know about this fact in greater detail.
Ulcers show up when stress builds up sizeably; it may also occur when you are consuming excessive levels of alcohol, eating spicy or hot food items, and also due to the smoking habit. Clinical research indicate that one out of every 10 residents of the US is likely to develop an ulcerous condition – i.e., at least once in life. Your duodenum – i.e., the upper-most portion of your small intestine – is often at the receiving end of ulcers. This top part is more likely to face the harshness of smoke, tobacco or other partially digested spicy foods. Duodenum is also the first part to face an excessive production of gastric acids or digestive juices. Your stomach may turn acidic when you are living with high level of stress.
A few other possible causes of ulcers can include an overuse of painkillers – especially drugs forming part of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – for example, meds like naproxen, aspirin and ibuprofen. Medical research indicates that older people are more likely to develop ulcers. This is mainly due to their vulnerability to autoimmune conditions such as arthritis. As these conditions demand drugs to kill pain, regular intake of such NSAIDs or painkilling meds can act as a trigger to form ulcers.
Use of proton pump inhibiting drugs like omeprazole for treating ulcers
As the name indicates, proton pump inhibiting drugs help reduce acidity build-up in your stomach. Omeprazole is a key member of this genre of drugs. The chief function of this drug is to arrest abundant production of gastric acids. In the process, this drug helps reduce ulcerous conditions, heart burns or gastric reflux, inflammation of the duodenum (clinically referred to as duodenitis) and a few other medical conditions. Omeprazole is also used for conditions wherein an increased acid secretion plays havoc. Such high acid conditions may also show up as Zollinger – Ellison syndrome, imbalance of H. pylori infections (this is a microbial strand, present in your stomach) or as an erosive food pipe (medically called as esophagitis).
Other widely prescribed drugs of the proton pump inhibiting family include pantoprazole, lansoprazole, esomeprazole, etc. Most of these drugs block enzymes – whose sources are present on the walls of your intestine – from secreting acids. Once acid flow is blocked or minimized, your stomach, intestines, food pipe and the other parts of the gastric tract start getting cured from ulcers.
Sucralfate and its ability to heal ulcers
On the other hand, sucralfate works very differently from omeprazole. Sucralfate works by making a protective covering / layer on damaged parts of your gastric tract. This action prevents harsh gastric acids from coming in direct contact with the already ruptured internal lining. This drug is generally regarded as safe, and is tolerated with ease by your system – as compared to many other ulcer medications. It is likely to cause difficulties to discharge stools – i.e., constipation. It becomes important to talk to your physician if you witness inadequate or erratic bowel movements. Your medical team may prescribe laxatives if constipation persists for long. However, laxatives are not to be used for a longer span of time. This is because – it can be habit forming and may cause severe dependencies in your system.
Intake of sucralfate with omeprazole! Is it safe?
In general, drugs are known to interact with each other. These interactions often create many side effects or adverse reactions. Both sucralfate and omeprazole help treat ulcers but, they work in their own ways to resolve ulcerous conditions. Hence, it is not advised to take these two drugs together. If you are taking these meds, your medical team will advise a time interval in between these doses. A time interval of 45 minutes to an hour is often recommended. But, which drug needs to be taken at first? You are advised to take omeprazole first; then, after providing a gap of 60 minutes, you may consume the recommended dose of sucralfate.
Side effects of sucralfate and omeprazole may have a few things in common; both drugs are known to cause migraines or headaches, abdominal discomforts like nausea, indigestion or vomiting. During spells of indigestion, you may observe loose stools or in some cases, an episode of diarrhea. You may need to be careful with a longer term consumption of omeprazole; you may witness a marked reduction in magnesium level. Owing to this, people with cardiac conditions may need to stay away from PPI drugs like omeprazole.
The typical dosage of sucralfate is one gram (1 g); this is taken three times each day. In some acute cases, the dose may even be four times daily. On a maintenance mode, the dose is restricted to 1 gram – but, given two times within a 24-hour timeline. The typical dose of omeprazole is 30 milligrams (mg) in a day. However, for internal bleeding due to a wound in the gastric tract, the dose is above 30 mg; in some remote cases, a dose of 40 milligrams has been administered. Most of these doses are not taken for a longer span. Typical timespan is 4 weeks; in some severe cases, medical plans are drawn out for 6 weeks. Both drugs need to be taken before food for better results. It is a good practice to swallow the pills with water; never chew or crush them in your mouth.
In sum, never take sucralfate and omeprazole together. An interval of at least 45 minutes is needed between doses of these drugs. You are advised to consume omeprazole and then (i.e., after the recommended time interval) consume a dose of sucralfate. If you need more guidance on these drugs or about ulcerous conditions, always consult with a qualified medical practitioner.