Sep 28, 2021

What You Need to Know About Pantoprazole

What is Pantoprazole?

Pantoprazole also marketed under the brand name Protonix is a generic medication used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, as well as GER and other acid reflux disorders. GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus causing heartburn and irritation to the lining of the esophagus. GERD is a condition that affects adults and children above 5 years of age. 

Pantroprazole belongs to the class of drugs named proton pump inhibitors (PPI) which work to inhibit the pumping of acid in the stomach and is considered to be a long-term use medication to prevent recurrence of acidity in the stomach or esophagus. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with GERD or other acid reflux disorders, Pantoprazole may be able to help. Use the below information as a guide to help you determine if it could be the proper medication for you, but always first consult with your healthcare physician before starting any new medication.

How Does Pantoprazole Work?

As a medication that belongs to the class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), Pantoprazole takes effect on the gastric parietal cells, preventing “pumping” of hydrochloric acid into the stomach. When taken 30 to 60 minutes before a meal, it aids in the prevention of heartburn. The drug however, does not work as effectively when taken on an as-needed basis as it does when used for long-term usage. Pantoprazole is used to inhibit the final step of gastric and basal acid production in the gastric parietal cell of the stomach by binding with the H+/K+ ATP pump which helps to prevent the recurrent secretion of acid for up to 24 hours or more.

What is Pantoprazole Used For?

In common cases, Pantoprazole is used to treat conditions in which there is excessive stomach acid, as well the acidification of the esophagus, a condition known as erosive esophagitis. It can be used in adults and children of ages above 5. After acidification has been controlled, it can be used for maintenance therapy for long-term use. However, it is recommended not to use it for more than 12 months. 

In more severe cases, Pantoprazole can be used to treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a rare condition in which a tumor forms in the pancreas and upper part of the small intestine), to prevent and treat stomach ulcers (sores that develop on the lining of stomach, esophagus or small intestine) as well as other conditions.

This medicine also helps relieve heartburn, difficulty in breathing and persistent cough caused by excessive stomach acidity.

How is Pantoprazole Taken?

It is essential that you first consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new prescription medication. Also, always be sure to carefully follow the recommendations of your health care provider, use the medication as instructed and as per the directions on the prescription label. 

Pantoprazole is to be taken by the mouth once daily. Your recommended dosage and the duration of your treatment are based on your medical condition as well as how you respond to the medication.

The medicine comes in two forms, tablets and granules. Both have different consumption methods as stated below. It is necessary to consume either accordingly to attain best results.

The tablet form of Pantoprazole can be taken with or without food. However, it is recommended to take an hour before a meal, which will better help prepare the stomach for proper digestion of the food as well help prevent heartburn caused by excessive acid production and reflux. It Is important to swallow the tablet whole, and to not crush or split the tablet as this could compromise the drug’s potency and efficacy.

If you’re taking granules, take your recommended dose 30 minutes before a meal. For easier consumption, try mixing the granules into applesauce and eating it within 10 minutes. You can also mix the granules in apple juice, stir it for 5 minutes and drink it right away. 

What are the Possible Side Effects of Pantoprazole? 

It is important to keep in mind that medications like Pantoprazole must be consumed as per their instructions or else they are unable to work as effectively. While people can experience various side effects when taking Pantoprazole, keep in mind that if you were prescribed this medication, your doctor has made the judgement that the medication’s potential benefits for you outweigh its risks. 

Common side effects of Pantoprazole include: 

  • Headaches

  • Diarrhea 

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Joint pain

  • Dizziness

  • Gas

More serious side effects are as follows:

  • Severe allergic reactions

  • Chronic inflammation in the stomach

  • Magnesium deficiency 

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Excessive tiredness 

  • Seizure

  • Rashes/blisters or peeling of the skin  

If you experience any of these side effects, it is advised that you immediately contact your doctor or health care provider.

Long-term use side effects due to deficiencies caused by Pantoprazole are:

  • Osteoporosis (weakening of bones)

  • Bone fracture 

  • Hypomagnesemia (low Magnesium levels in blood) 

Upon experiencing severe symptoms, consider discontinuing our use of the drug but only after first consulting with your doctor.  

Things to Keep in Mind When Taking Pantoprazole

Some important things to remember when taking Pantoprazole include: 

  • The medicine, in tablet or granule form, should not be crushed in the mouth as this can compromise and decrease its effectiveness.

  • It is recommended to continue using the medication even after you experience relief of your symptoms to prevent the return of acid reflux and acidification. However, long term use must not exceed 8 months. 

  • The medication must be used regularly, even after GERD symptoms have subsided. This helps continue to control acidity and acid reflux while the stomach and esophageal cells recover.

  • If the patient experiences heartburn while on Pantoprazole, antacids can be taken along with this medicine. However, a consultation with a doctor is recommended to discuss what the best course of action would be for that particular patient. 

  • If you are taking Sucralfate, as well, take Pantoprazole 30 minutes before Sucralfate. Sucralfate, like Pantoprazole, is used to treat gastroesophageal reflux diseases and severe ulcers. Therefore, there are no interactions that exist between Pantoprazole and Sucralfate.

  • This medicine is safe for pregnant women to use. However, the medicine should only be used after consultation with a gynecologist.

  • It is okay to eat or drink as normal while taking Pantoprazole. However, it is best to take this medicine an hour before any meal.

  • It is also recommended to avoid foods that may make your symptoms worse, such as spicy or fatty foods. Cut down on caffeinated drinks, including tea and coffee as well. Avoiding alcohol is recommended.

  • Consider healthier alternatives if your current diet includes heavy, spicy and fatty foods.

It is common to feel slight discomfort after taking Pantoprazole that may feel like a minor form of heartburn, but if the discomfort continues or increases in severity, contact your doctor right away. Moreover, it is important to be aware of how any medication can affect your body, so it is advised to always ask your doctor before making any changes to your dietary or medicine routine. 

Pantoprazole may be the solution treatment for you or someone you know who suffers from GERD or other acid reflux disorders. At CareCard, we are passionate about helping make your prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medications. You can search for a Pantoprazole coupon here and learn how CareCard can help make your medication payments more manageable.

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