When it comes to Prilosec, uses of the medication include the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, pathological hypersecretory conditions, and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections. Prilosec works to treat these conditions by decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. The medication is approved for use in children as young as one year of age.
What Is Prilosec Used For?Prilosec® (omeprazole) is a prescription medication used to treat several conditions related to the esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Prilosec is part of a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Over-the-counter Prilosec OTC® (omeprazole magnesium) is also available and is approved to treat frequent heartburn (that occurs at least twice a week).
Specific uses for prescription Prilosec include treating:
- Duodenal ulcers (ulcers in the very first part of the intestine after the stomach).
- Helicobacter pylori infections associated with duodenal ulcers -- Prilosec is used in combination with antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori bacteria in the stomach, helping to heal duodenal ulcers.
- Benign (noncancerous) gastric ulcers (or stomach ulcers).
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- Prilosec helps to treat GERD by relieving heartburn and healing esophagitis (damage to the esophagus).
- Pathological hypersecretory conditions -- Prilosec helps to treat these conditions (when too much stomach acid is produced), such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Prilosec for Ulcers
Ulcers can occur in several places in the digestive tract. One common place for an ulcer is in the duodenum (the upper part of the intestine just after the stomach). This type of ulcer is called a duodenal ulcer. Another common place to have an ulcer is the stomach. This is called a stomach ulcer or gastric ulcer. A "peptic ulcer" is a term that includes both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers.
There are many causes of ulcers, including medications, infections, and diseases. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are a common cause of stomach ulcers. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) can also cause ulcers. Certain conditions that increase the production of stomach acid also cause ulcers.
Common symptoms of ulcers include symptoms of heartburn or stomach pain (especially at night) and a loss of appetite. Some of the symptoms of bleeding ulcers can include dizziness, vomiting blood, and blood in the stool (seen as dark-colored stools). Some people may not have any symptoms of an ulcer.
Prilosec is approved for use in treating both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers. Prilosec is approved to help heal both types of ulcers. Prilosec is also approved to be used in combination with antibiotics to treat duodenal ulcers due to an H. pylori infection. It is used with clarithromycin (Biaxin®), with or without amoxicillin (Amoxil®), for this use.