Generic Name: pantoprazole (pan TOE pra zole)
Brand Names: Protonix
What is Protonix?
Protonix is in a group of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. It decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Protonix is used to treat erosive esophagitis (damage to the esophagus from stomach acid), and other conditions involving excess stomach acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Protonix is not for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms.
Protonix may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Protonix if you are allergic to pantoprazole or to any other benzimidazole medication such as albendazole (Albenza), or mebendazole (Vermox). Protonix is not for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms. Take Protonix for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the condition is fully treated. Protonix should not be taken together with atazanavir (Reyataz) or nelfinavir (Viracept). Tell your doctor if you are taking either of these medications to treat HIV or AIDS.
Heartburn is often confused with the first symptoms of a heart attack. Seek emergency medical attention if you have chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, and a general ill feeling.
Some conditions must be treated long-term with Protonix. The chronic use of Protonix has caused stomach cancer in animal studies, but it is not known if this medication would have the same effects in humans. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk of developing stomach cancer.
Long-term treatment with Protonix may also make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B-12, resulting in a deficiency of this vitamin. Talk with your doctor if you need long-term Protonix treatment and you have concerns about vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Protonix if you are allergic to pantoprazole or to any other benzimidazole medication such as albendazole (Albenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
To make sure you can safely take Protonix, tell your doctor if you low levels of magnesium in your blood.
Some conditions must be treated long-term with Protonix. The chronic use of pantoprazole has caused stomach cancer in animal studies, but it is not known if Protonix would have the same effects in humans. Talk with your doctor about your specific risk of developing stomach cancer.
Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as Protonix may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This effect has occurred mostly in people who have taken the medication long term or at high doses, and in those who are age 50 and older. It is not clear whether Protonix is the actual cause of an increased risk of fracture. Before you take this medication, tell your doctor if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mineral density).
Long-term treatment with Protonix may also make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin B-12, resulting in a deficiency of this vitamin. Symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency may develop slowly and include pale skin, weakness, tired feeling, shortness of breath, and a fast heart rate. Talk with your doctor if you need long-term Protonix treatment and you have concerns about vitamin B-12 deficiency.
FDA pregnancy category B. Protonix is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Pantoprazole can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Protonix without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
How should I take Protonix?
Take Protonix exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Protonix tablets can be taken with or without food. Protonix oral granules should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.
Do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. Swallow it whole. The enteric-coated pill has a special coating to protect your stomach. Breaking the pill will damage this coating.
The oral granules should be mixed only with applesauce or apple juice to make swallowing easy. Do not use any other type of liquid or soft food. Sprinkle the granules directly onto a teaspoon of applesauce and swallow this mixture right away without chewing. Or pour the granules into a cup with 1 teaspoon of apple juice, stir for 5 seconds and swallow right away. To make sure you get the entire dose, add a little more apple juice to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away. Do not save the granule mixture for later use.
To give Protonix granules through a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube:
Attach a 60-milliliter syringe to the NG tube and remove the plunger. Hold the syringe high enough to prevent any bends in the tube.
Sprinkle the Protonix granules into the syringe barrel and mix in 2 teaspoons of apple juice. Gently tap or shake the syringe as it empties into the tube.
Add another 2 teaspoons of apple juice to the syringe to help rinse the granules through and to make sure the entire Protonix dose is given. Tap or shake the syringe as the juice empties into the tube.
Repeat the rinse with 2 teaspoons of apple juice at least twice more, gently shaking the syringe as it empties into the tube. Make sure there are no granules remaining in the syringe or NG tube.
Protonix can cause you to have a false positive drug-screening test. If you provide a urine sample for drug-screening, tell the laboratory staff that you are taking Protonix.
Take this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before the condition is fully treated. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse while you are taking Protonix.
Store Protonix at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
This medication can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, stop taking Protonix and call your doctor. Do not use anti-diarrhea medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Protonix side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Protonix: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Protonix and call your doctor at once if you have symptoms of low magnesium such as:
fast or uneven heart rate;
jerking muscle movements;
diarrhea that is watery or bloody;
muscle cramps, muscle weakness or limp feeling;
cough or choking feeling; or
headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, or shallow breathing
Less serious Protonix side effects are more likely to occur, such as:
nausea, vomiting, mild diarrhea;
gas, stomach pain;
dizziness, drowsiness, tired feeling;
joint pain; or
sleep problems (insomnia).
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Protonix?
Protonix should not be taken together with atazanavir (Reyataz) or nelfinavir (Viracept). Tell your doctor if you are taking either of these medications to treat HIV or AIDS.
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:
ampicillin (Principen, Unasyn);
a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps);
a diuretic (water pill);
iron (Feosol, Mol-Iron, Fergon, Femiron, others); or
methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Protonix. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More about Protonix (pantoprazole)
- Protonix delayed-release tablets
- Protonix suspension
- Protonix (Advanced Reading)
- Protonix Intravenous (Advanced Reading)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about Protonix.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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