Omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid) decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach and so is used to treat symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and similar conditions. It can also be used in conjunction with antibiotics to treat gastric ulcer caused by infection with helicobacter pylori. Omeprazole is taken orally.
The typical starting omeprazole dosage for adults ranges between 20 and 60mg daily. However, this is only a guideline. The right starting dosage for each individual patient will depend on the medical diagnosis, the acuteness of the condition, the age of the patient, their body requirements, medications taken concurrently, and the patient’s medical history.
For children, the starting daily dose is dependent on weight. Children weighing 11 to 22lb, 22 to 44lb and more than 44lb should take 5mg, 10mg and 20mg respectively.
Dosages in Adults for Common Conditions
- For the treatment of GERD symptoms, the initial adult dose is 20 mg once a day for up to 4 weeks. In cases where the patient’s GERD is severe enough to cause erosive esophagitis, the correct dosage is 20mg once a day for four to eight weeks. If necessary, omeprazole may be continued beyond this point to stop the esophageal erosions from returning.
- For gastric ulcers, patients are advised to take 40mg once daily for 4 to 8 weeks.
- Patients with pathological hypersecretory conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome typically require higher omeprazole dosages, upwards of 60mg once a day.
Dosage Tips and Warnings
- Omeprazole should be taken at the same time every day.
- It is most effective when taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before eating.
- Patients who have trouble swallowing pills whole can open up omeprazole capsules and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of pudding or applesauce. However, omeprazole tablets must not be cut, crushed or chewed.
- Omeprazole can also be taken in the form of an oral suspension by mixing the contents of 1 packet of powdered medication with water.
Although omeprazole is a useful drug, it must be handled extremely carefully. Patients should always check the correct omeprazole dosage with their doctor and take the medication exactly as prescribed by their healthcare provider. They should not take the drug for longer than recommended. Omeprazole should be stored at room temperature away from moisture and heat.