Omeprazole is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough. This medication helps heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus, helps prevent ulcers, and may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. Omeprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). If you are self-treating with this medication, over-the-counter omeprazole products are used to treat frequent heartburn (occurring 2 or more days a week). Since it may take 1 to 4 days to have full effect, these products do not relieve heartburn right away. For over-the-counter products, carefully read the package instructions to make sure the product is right for you. Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar brand names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
See also Precautions section. Headache or abdominal pain may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If your doctor has directed you to use this product, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: symptoms of a low magnesium blood level (such as unusually fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms, seizures), signs of lupus (such as rash on nose and cheeks, new or worsening joint pain). This medication may rarely cause a severe intestinal condition (Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea) due to a type of bacteria. Do not use anti-diarrhea or opioid medications if you have any of the following symptoms because these products may make them worse. Tell your doctor right away if you develop: persistent diarrhea, abdominal or stomach pain/cramping, fever, blood/mucus in your stool. Rarely, proton pump inhibitors (such as omeprazole) have caused vitamin B-12 deficiency. The risk is increased if they are taken every day for a long time (3 years or longer). Tell your doctor right away if you develop symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency (such as unusual weakness, sore tongue, or numbness/tingling of the hands/feet). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine). This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
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