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All about: Prevacid

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Generic name: Lansoprazole
Brand names: Prevacid

Why is Prevacid prescribed?

Prevacid blocks the production of stomach acid. It is prescribed for the short-term treatment (4 to 8 weeks) of the following:

  • Stomach ulcer
  • Duodenal ulcer (near the exit from the stomach)
  • Erosive esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus)
  • Heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (also known as GERD, which occurs when stomach acid backs up into the tube connecting the throat to the stomach).

Once a duodenal ulcer or case of esophagitis has cleared up, the doctor may continue prescribing Prevacid to prevent a relapse. Prevacid is also prescribed to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers in people who develop this problem while taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Motrin, and Naprosyn. The drug is also used for long-term treatment of certain diseases marked by excessive acid production, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Prevacid is also prescribed as part of a combination treatment to eliminate the H. pylori infection that causes most cases of duodenal ulcer.

Most important fact about Prevacid

To relieve your symptoms and to heal your ulcer, you need to take Prevacid for the full time of treatment your doctor prescribes. Keep taking the drug even if you begin to feel better, and be sure to keep your appointments with your doctor.

How should you take Prevacid?

Prevacid should be taken before meals. If you're using the regular delayed-release capsules and you're having trouble swallowing them, you can sprinkle the contents on a tablespoon of applesauce; swallow immediately without chewing or crushing the granules. You can also mix the granules with 2 ounces of orange juice or tomato juice. (Rinse the glass with an additional 4 ounces of juice to make sure you get the entire dose.)

You can also use delayed-release Prevacid SoluTabs, which are orally disintegrating tablets. Each tablet should be placed on the tongue, where it will dissolve in about 1 minute. The dissolved particles can be swallowed with or without water. The SoluTabs should not be chewed or swallowed whole. If you or your child has trouble swallowing the SoluTabs, you have the option of dissolving the tablet in water and administering the solution with an oral syringe or through a nasogastric tube. For specific instructions, talk to your doctor. The general steps are as follows:

  1. Place the tablet in an oral syringe. Follow your doctor's directions on the amount of water you need to draw up into the syringe.
  2. Gently shake the syringe to dissolve the tablet.
  3. Administer the solution within 15 minutes. This can be done directly, with the oral syringe, or by injecting the syringe into a nasogastric tube.
  4. To be sure you have taken all of the drug, rinse out any remaining residue by refilling the syringe with water and shaking gently; then administer the remaining contents.

Alternatively, you can use Prevacid for Delayed-Release Oral Suspension. Empty the packet into 2 tablespoonfuls of water, stir well, and swallow immediately. Do not use any other liquid, and avoid chewing or crushing the granules. If any material remains in the glass, add more water, stir, and drink immediately.

If you are taking antacids for pain, you may continue to do so. You also may continue to take sucralfate (Carafate), but take your dose of Prevacid at least 30 minutes prior to the Carafate.

--If you miss a dose...

Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

Store at room temperature in a tightly closed container. Keep away from moisture.

What side effects may occur?

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Prevacid.

  • More common side effects may include:
    Abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness or headache (more common in children), nausea

Why should Prevacid not be prescribed?

Do not take Prevacid if you've ever had an allergic reaction to it, or if you've ever had an allergic reaction to penicillin or macrolide antibiotics, such as clarithromycin (Biaxin) or erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, ERYC, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, PCE).

You must also avoid Prevacid if you're taking cisapride, pimozide, astemizole, or terfenadine. Combining Prevacid with these drugs could cause dangerous--and even fatal--heartbeat irregularities.

Special warnings about Prevacid

Do not take Prevacid any longer than your doctor has prescribed; Prevacid should not be used for long-term therapy of duodenal ulcer or erosive esophagitis.

If you have liver disease, be sure your doctor knows about it. Prevacid should be used cautiously.

If you do not begin to feel better on Prevacid therapy, or if your symptoms become worse, be sure to call your doctor.

Prevacid has no effect on stomach cancer. It could be present even if Prevacid relieves your symptoms.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have phenylketonuria and must avoid the amino acid phenylalanine, since Prevacid contains this substance.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Prevacid

If Prevacid is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Prevacid with the following:

Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Iron salts (Ferro-Sequels, Ferro-Sulfate)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
Sucralfate (Carafate)
Theophylline (Theo-Dur)
Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of Prevacid in pregnant women have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, tell your doctor. It is not known whether Prevacid appears in human breast milk. If Prevacid is essential to your health, your doctor may have you stop breastfeeding your baby while you are taking it.

Recommended dosage


If you have severe liver disease, your doctor will adjust the dosage as needed.

For Short-Term Treatment of Duodenal Ulcer

The usual dose is 15 milligrams once daily, before eating, for 4 weeks.

To Prevent Relapse of Duodenal Ulcer

Take 15 milligrams once a day.

To Eradicate Ulcer-causing Bacteria

To eliminate the H. pylori bacteria that cause most duodenal ulcers, Prevacid is taken with amoxicillin alone or amoxicillin and Biaxin. When combined with amoxicillin only, the usual dosage is 30 milligrams of Prevacid and 1 gram of amoxicillin 3 times daily for 14 days. If all three drugs are used, the usual dosage is 30 milligrams of Prevacid, 1 gram of amoxicillin, and 500 milligrams of Biaxin twice daily for 10 to 14 days.

For Short-Term Treatment of Stomach Ulcer

The usual dose is 30 milligrams once a day for up to 8 weeks.

To Prevent Stomach Ulcer Due to Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

The usual dose is 15 milligrams once a day for up to 12 weeks.

For Short-Term Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Take 15 milligrams once a day for up to 8 weeks.

For Short-Term Treatment of Erosive Esophagitis

The usual dose is 30 milligrams daily, before eating, for up to 8 weeks. Depending on your response to the medication your doctor may suggest another 8-week treatment regimen.

Other Excess Acid Conditions (such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome)

The usual starting dose is 60 milligrams once daily. This dose can be adjusted upward by your doctor, depending on your response. Dosages totaling more than 120 milligrams a day should be divided into smaller doses.


For Short-Term Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The usual dose is 15 milligrams once a day for up to 8 weeks.

For Short-Term Treatment of Erosive Esophagitis

The usual dose is 30 milligrams once a day for up to 8 weeks.


For Short-Term Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or Erosive Esophagitis

Dosage is based on the child's weight. For children weighing 66 pounds or less, the usual dose is 15 milligrams once a day for up to 12 weeks. For children weighing more than 66 pounds, the usual dose is 30 milligrams once a day for up to 12 weeks. If the child's symptoms don't improve after 2 or more weeks, the doctor may increase the dose up to a maximum of 30 milligrams twice a day. Children with severe liver problems will need their dosage adjusted.

Safety and effectiveness have not been studied in children less than 1 year old.


Overdoses of Prevacid are not known to cause any problems. Nevertheless, no medication should be taken in excess. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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