Acid reflux occurs when acids your stomach makes get into your food pipe (esophagus). This may show up when a valve (known as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES) fails to close once food items pass through it. As harsh gastric acids get pushed up the esophagus, you are likely to witness a few signs. These include heartburn, irritation, a sour taste, flatulence, nausea, and hiccups. In some cases, people have experienced a loss of body weight. Can you use pantoprazole for treating this gastric problem? It is important to know more about this prior to going ahead with a dosage plan.

Heartburn shows up as a burning sensation. This feeling moves from your tummy and climbs up to your chest; at times, the sensation can be felt in your throat. If this feeling occurs very rarely, it is considered normal. On the other hand, if it shows up more frequently – say, twice or thrice in a week, then it may be due to a gastric condition. In clinical terms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This may also show up when you are living with a condition called hiatal hernia; here, your LES gets above a muscular barrier (called a diaphragm). Other possible reasons for heartburn / GERD are – snacking during bedtime, consuming large courses of meals, excessive smoking of tobacco products, and intake of a few types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen.

Treatment of acid reflux with pantoprazole

Heartburn can be treated through multiple options. The most commonly used options are quitting smoking tobacco-based products, exercising portion control on meals, wearing loose garments (never wear tight-fit clothes), leading an active lifestyle, and shedding needless flabs. Your treating doctor may also prescribe medications that fall under a category called proton pump inhibitors (in short, PPIs). Pantoprazole belongs to this genre of drugs.

Pantoprazole works by decreasing the quantum of acids your stomach makes. Once the acid levels are reduced, you are likely to be relieved from acid reflux/heartburn. Intake of pantoprazole may help prevent the formation of stomach ulcers; at times, the drug has also been used to stave off risks of cancers in the gastrointestinal tract.

Safe intake of pantoprazole

Pantoprazole is taken orally – the dosages are strict as per the instructions of your caregiving team. Always remember that the dosages of this drug may change from one person to another. The strength of doses may depend on the severity of your clinical condition, your age, body weight as well as the incidence of prior ailments. This drug may be taken either before or after a meal. It is considered safe to swallow the tablet by drinking a glass of water. It is harmful to chew or crush/bite the pill. You are advised to take pantoprazole regularly; such a practice is more likely to get the best possible outcomes.

Your treatment plan needs to be continued till the discomforts associated with GERD / heartburn cease to show up. However, if your condition does not improve, even after taking the drug for a few days, talk to your doctor as quickly as possible. Also, if you are experiencing a few adverse side effects such as diarrhea, indigestion, migraines, or headaches, talk to your caregiver soon. In general, these are minor discomforts that may disappear on their own. But, if one or more of these adverse effects are persisting for long, talk to your treating physician on an emergency basis.

This drug is unlikely to cause any major reactions. In a small percentage of users, this med has triggered inflammation of oral parts, rashes on the skin, symptoms of a likely renal failure (an unmistakable sign is an altered output of urine discharged), etc. In some rare instances, this drug may alter the bacterial balances in your intestinal tract. A specific strand called C. difficile (a unique genre of bacteria) may trigger incessant spells of diarrhea, indigestion as well as cramping of muscles in your abdominal region. These signs may occur after a few weeks or months – i.e., months after discontinuing the dosages of pantoprazole. In such cases, it can be counterproductive to take opioid-based meds or antidiarrheal drugs. Clinical research did show that such drugs may only aggravate your current condition.

Safety measures needed while taking pantoprazole

Foremost of all, it is important to know that your treating doctor has prescribed this drug as its benefits far outweigh the risks involved. Also, most people who took this med seldom reported any major side effects or discomforts. However, it is a vital thing to tell your doctor if you have prior medical conditions such as – a lesser level of magnesium in your blood (this condition shows up in the form of erratic heartbeat, weakness of muscles, convulsions, or epileptic seizures), etc.

Those with prior (or current) episodes of deficiencies in vitamin B-12 – may need to take added caution. Symptoms of such deficiencies include numbing of limbs – legs or hands, soreness of oral parts as well as tiredness/weakness. Pantoprazole is likely to cause vitamin B-12 inadequacies; so, your caregiver needs to know about such prior conditions before starting your medication plan.

It is equally important to tell your doctor about hepatic problems – such as inflammation of the liver or cirrhosis of the liver. Prior to surgery or dental intervention, it is essential to tell your surgical/dental team about the intake of this med. Elderly people are more vulnerable to loss of bones when they take pantoprazole for a longer span of time. In general, those who take this med may need to exercise caution as the risks of fractures are more. As a precautionary measure, your caregiver may prescribe calcium supplements as well as vitamin D-related dietary aids.

In sum, pantoprazole forms part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors. It acts on your gastric tract and reduces the number of acids made in the stomach. As acid levels stand decreased, it soon brings about needful relief from heartburn or GERD. Consumption of this drug can also help avoid stomach ulcers. Talk to your doctor about the right dosage level (which is a factor of your clinical condition) and adhere to all safety instructions. In case you need more clarifications about the use of pantoprazole, it is strongly recommended to talk to your caregiving team.

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