Pantoprazole: 6 things you should know
Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 20, 2018.
1. How it works
- Pantoprazole reduces the production of acid by the stomach by irreversibly blocking the actions of an enzyme responsible for acid production, called H+/K+ ATPase (also known as the gastric proton pump). The proton pump is located in the parietal cells of the stomach wall. Both baseline gastric acid secretion and stimulated gastric acid secretion are affected; the degree that they are affected to depends upon the dose of pantoprazole.
- This allows damaged tissue in the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum to heal.
- Pantoprazole belongs to the class of medicines known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
- Effective at healing erosive esophagitis (a severe inflammation of the lining of the esophagus- the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach), and relieving symptoms of gastro-esophageal reflux disease (also known as heartburn).
- Useful in the treatment of hypersecretory conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
- Usually, only up to 8 weeks of treatment is required; although may be used for up to 12 months to maintain healing of erosive esophagitis.
- No dosage adjustment is needed in people with kidney or liver disease or in the elderly.
- Generic pantoprazole is available.
If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:
- A headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, joint pain, and flatulence.
- May also interfere with some laboratory tests.
- May mask the symptoms of gastric cancer. An endoscopy may be necessary in some people (especially seniors) prior to pantoprazole treatment to rule out malignancy, or in those who don't respond to treatment or relapse soon after pantoprazole is discontinued.
- PPIs (including pantoprazole) have been associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis-related fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine. People on high-dose or long-term therapy are more at risk.
- Has also been associated with other conditions such as lupus erythematosus and magnesium deficiency.
- Prolonged treatment (greater than 24-36 months) may cause vitamin B12 deficiency. The risk is greater in women, people aged less than 30, and with higher dosages.
- Administration of PPIs (such as pantoprazole), has been associated with acute interstitial nephritis, a severe inflammation of the kidneys. May occur on medication initiation or at any point of therapy. Symptoms include fever, rash and generalized aches and pains. Discontinue pantoprazole and seek medical advice.
- Has been associated with a greater risk of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea. See your doctor if you develop diarrhea that does not improve.
- May interact with some other medications including methotrexate and sometimes warfarin. Pantoprazole can also reduce the absorption of drugs that are dependant on a certain gastric pH for their absorption.
Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.
- Usually taken once daily.
- May be taken with or without food.
- Swallow delayed-release tablets whole; do not split, crush or chew.
- See your doctor if you develop any unexplained fever, rash (particularly one that gets worse after you have been in the sun), new or worsening joint pain, persistent diarrhea or generalized aches and pains.
- Also see your doctor if you develop any muscle cramps, spasms, or weakness; jitteriness; abnormal heartbeat; dizziness; seizures; or any other symptoms of concern.
6. Response and Effectiveness
- Peak effects happen within two and a half hours and effects can last for over 24 hours.
Pantoprazole [Package Insert]. Revised 02/2018. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC https://www.drugs.com/pro/pantoprazole.html
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use pantoprazole only for the indication prescribed.
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