Acids produced in the stomach help digest foods you take. But, an excessive production of acids can cause ulcers. In some cases, these acids can climb up – back into the esophagus (food pipe), causing conditions known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) or acid reflux. The inner linings of your stomach are suitably insulated to escape the effects of acids. However, the food pipe does not have such protective lining. Hence, acids can cause severe erosion.  Drugs such as pantoprazole are widely prescribed to minimize the effects of excessive acids in your gastric tract. But, what is the best time to take this drug? You are advised to know more on this before starting to use this med.

Acid suppressors are known to control the production of acids inside your tummy. Once acid levels are lowered, you are unlikely to experience conditions such as GERD, ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, etc. Pantoprazole is a widely used med in this genre. It falls under a category of meds known as proton pump inhibitors. The key ingredients help block enzymes that trigger acids in your gastric system. Once enzymes are discouraged from making more acids, healing process starts soon. This process expedites the healing of ulcers caused on inner lining of food pipe, duodenum as well as other parts of your gastric tract.

Pantoprazole is used for a shorter span of time; it can be administered onto children (but, aged above 7 years) and adults. Upon starting your medication plan, the key chemicals ensure signs such as heartburns, irritation in your chest and other discomforts from showing up. This drug is available both as an orally taken pill as well as an injectable form. The pill-form works well for mild cases of heartburns; however, the injectable form is given to treat a chronic spell of erosion of the food pipe.

What is the best time to take pantoprazole?

The treatment plan for acid reflux and heartburns lasts for 5 to 7 weeks. In some one-off cases, the plan is administered for a few months – especially to treat erosion of esophagus. Standard dose is generally once every 24 hours. Only in some very rare cases, the dosage is increased to twice per day. The best way to take the pill is to swallow it with a few ounces of water. Also, the best time to take pantoprazole is an hour (or at least 40 minutes) prior to your morning meal. In cases wherein two doses are prescribed, you need to allow for a time interval of at least 8 to 9 hours in between doses. So, the best time to take the second dose (within a 24-hour timeline) is at least 30 minutes prior to your night-time meal (i.e., dinner).

You need to know that pantoprazole is also sold as a granular form. The best way to take the granules of this proton pump inhibitor is to have it along with apple juice (cider) or sauce. Once you have mixed the granules with apple sauce, never make the mixture to wait; instead, take it within 5 minutes after preparing it. This is considered as a best practice – as it ensures granules are washed down to reach your gastric system intact. But, never take a larger dose – in order to hasten the healing process. It is a wrong belief and practice to consume larger doses of pantoprazole. Those who took the med at more-than prescribed dosage strengths witnessed skin conditions, swelling of oral parts (such as gums, tongue or throat) as well as respiratory difficulties like wheezing and / or gasping for breath.

Risks of side effects and discomforts associated with the intake of pantoprazole

You may need to be aware of side effects such as feeling dizzy, pain in your abdomen, indigestion as well as diarrhea. These side effects may last for a shorter span of time. Once your body gets used to the key chemicals, most of these discomforts are likely to subside. Its key ingredients may disturb the results of a few lab tests; hence, you need to inform about intake of proton pump inhibitors to the caregiving team at the clinical lab. In some instances, a persistent use of pantoprazole has led to deficiency of vitamins (especially the B12 variant); such risks are more likely to show up among women – especially, those aged below 28 years. In some cases, long term intake of pantoprazole may trigger nephritis (swelling of kidneys) as well as lowering of filtration rates of the renal system.

Long term intake of this drug is likely to cause fractures of bones, and may also lead to loss of bones. Elderly people are more likely to witness these problems, especially upon continued use of such meds. Among elderly patients – this drug may cause an onset of bacterial imbalance (of a strand called C. difficile). This imbalance can lead to incessant spells of diarrhea or indigestion. These signs may occur a few weeks / months after stopping the intake of pantoprazole. In such cases, consumption of antidiarrheal meds may only aggravate the condition. It is highly recommended to take advice from a qualified caregiver prior to taking any antibacterial or antidiarrheal meds.

In some rare cases, pantoprazole may cause erratic heartbeats, epileptic seizures, fits or convulsions, cramping of muscles, weakness as well as spasms. These are more common among elders and among people living with a compromised immune system. Talk to your physician if you are noticing any of these acute side effects. Those in the US are advised to call the food and drug administration (FDA – which runs its own helpline) or reach out to 911 on an emergency mode. Residents of Canadian provinces are recommended to call Health Canada for immediate medical attention or quickly rush to a poison control center (functioning in your province).

In sum, pantoprazole is a proton pump inhibitor. It discourages gastric enzymes from producing acids. The best time to take this drug at least 45 minutes prior to your breakfast. Those who need to take this drug twice in a day can take it at least 30 minutes before their dinner (night meal). Above all, you are advised to talk to your caregiver (a qualified physician and / or pharmacist) to know more on this front.

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