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All about: Rabeprazole sodium

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Generic name: Rabeprazole sodium
Brand names: AcipHex

Why is Rabeprazole sodium prescribed?

AcipHex blocks acid production in the stomach. It is prescribed for the short-term (4 to 8 weeks) treatment of sores and inflammation in the upper digestive canal (esophagus). This condition, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus over a prolonged period of time. Because GERD can be chronic, your doctor may continue to prescribe AcipHex to prevent a relapse after your initial course of treatment and to relieve symptoms of GERD such as heartburn.

AcipHex can also be prescribed for the short-term (up to 4 weeks) treatment of duodenal ulcers (ulcers that form just outside the stomach at the top of the small intestine), and for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a disease which causes the stomach to produce too much acid. The drug is classified as a "proton pump inhibitor." It works by blocking a specific enzyme essential to the production of stomach acid. It begins reducing acid within an hour of administration.

AcipHex is sometimes combined with the antibiotics amoxicillin and clarithromycin to treat infections caused by H. pylori, a type of bacteria that lives in the digestive tract and is often associated with recurrent ulcers.

Most important fact about Rabeprazole sodium

AcipHex will work even if your symptoms are caused by a serious condition such as stomach cancer. For that reason, doctors are warned to rule out cancer whenever prescribing Rabeprazole sodium.

How should you take Rabeprazole sodium?

Take AcipHex once a day, with or without food. Swallow the tablet whole; it should not be crushed, chewed, or split. You can continue taking antacids during AcipHex therapy.

If you're using AcipHex along with amoxicillin and clarithromycin, take all three drugs at the same time twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. This three-drug regimen should be taken with meals.

--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 two doses at once.

--Storage instructions...

AcipHex should be stored at room temperature and protected 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 AcipHex. Headache is the most common side effect of AcipHex, occurring in two people out of 100.

Why should Rabeprazole sodium not be prescribed?

If AcipHex gives you an allergic reaction, you will not be able to use it.

Special warnings about Rabeprazole sodium

If you have stomach ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria, AcipHex could make the condition slightly worse. The doctor may order a test for H. pylori before prescribing Rabeprazole sodium. If you test positive, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics along with AcipHex.

AcipHex has not been tested in children under 18 years of age.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking Rabeprazole sodium

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

Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
Digoxin (Lanoxin)
Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

The effects of AcipHex during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. The drug may appear in breast milk and should not be taken while you're breastfeeding.

Recommended dosage

ADULTS

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The usual dose is 20 milligrams once a day for 4 to 8 weeks. For patients who have not healed after 8 weeks, the doctor may prescribe an additional 8-week course of AcipHex therapy.

To Relieve Symptoms or Prevent a Relapse of GERD

The usual dose is 20 milligrams once a day.

Duodenal Ulcer

The usual dose is 20 milligrams taken once daily after the morning meal for a period of up to 4 weeks. Some people may require an additional 4 weeks of treatment.

Combination Drug Treatment to Eliminate H. Pylori

The recommended combination is 20 milligrams of AcipHex, 1,000 milligrams of amoxicillin, and 500 milligrams of clarithromycin taken twice a day for 7 days. It's important to take all three drugs for the entire 7 days. Cutting the treatment short could fail to eliminate the infection and possibly lead to antibiotic resistance.

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

The usual starting dose is 60 milligrams once a day, although your doctor may adjust the dose based on your individual need. Doses of up to 100 milligrams once a day or 60 milligrams twice a day are sometimes prescribed.

Overdosage

Little is known about AcipHex overdose. However, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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