Prilosec and Diarrhea

There are several side effects of Prilosec, and diarrhea appears to be one of the more common. During clinical studies, diarrhea was a reported side effect in up to 3.7 percent of people taking Prilosec. For most people, diarrhea will improve on its own. However, it is important to drink plenty of fluids during this time.

An Overview of Prilosec and Diarrhea

Most people tolerate Prilosec® (omeprazole) well. However, it is possible for a person to have side effects, including diarrhea. In fact, diarrhea appears to be one of the more common Prilosec side effects. This data comes from clinical trials that studied Prilosec and documented its side effects.

Prilosec and Diarrhea -- How Common Is It?

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies in which thousands of people are given a particular medicine and are then compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, the side effects are always documented. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine. Side effects are then usually separated into those side effects that occur in more than 1 percent of people and those that occur in less than 1 percent of people.
For people taking Prilosec, diarrhea was reported in up to 3.7 percent of them. In this same study 2.5 percent of people who did not take Prilosec reported diarrhea.

Is My Diarrhea From Prilosec -- Or Something Else?

Diarrhea is defined as loose, watery, unformed stools occurring more than three times in one day. Diarrhea is not the occasional loose stool or the frequent passing of formed stools. There are many causes of diarrhea (see Diarrhea Causes), and certain medicines, such as Prilosec, are one possible cause. However, infections, certain medical conditions (such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease), and food intolerance (such as lactose intolerance) can also cause diarrhea.
For most people, diarrhea improves on its own. However, during this time, it is important to drink plenty of fluids (see Diarrhea Treatment for specific treatment recommendations). This type of diarrhea is known as acute diarrhea (meaning it gets better within two weeks). Chronic diarrhea, or diarrhea that continues for more than two weeks, is also possible. Medicine can cause both acute and chronic diarrhea.
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