Everything you need to know to treat Acid Reflux

Acid Reflux is a common condition where acid produced from your stomach escapes and the contents goes back into the oesophagus and sometimes into the back of your throat and mouth.

Published: Tuesday 14 May 2019



Acid Reflux is a common condition where acid produced from your stomach escapes and the contents goes back into the oesophagus and sometimes into the back of your throat and mouth. It can occur when your stomach produces too much acid and not enough protective mucous or a weakened sphincter muscle. This can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation or heat in your chest and throat after you eat. If you consistently suffer from acid reflux, you may have Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease (GORD) which affects one in ten people every day. Acid reflux normally occurs when we eat certain types of foods, especially foods containing high contents of fat, or whole milk dairy products. Other triggers include eating spicy foods, drinking coffee, eating large meals or lying down straight after eating.

How can you treat Acid Reflux?

Omeprazole is a widely used medication used to treat indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It is a type of medication called a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) where it restricts the proton pumps, small substances in the lining of the stomach that makes acid for food digestion, from working.

Who can take Omeprazole?

Omeprazole is safe for babies and children to take as long as it has been prescribed by a doctor. The same goes for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. To ensure that you are suitable to take Omeprazole, you should let your doctor know if you have any of the following:

  • Deficiency in Vitamin B12.
  • Are allergic to PPI or any other medication.
  • Have ever had liver disease.
  • Are due for an endoscopy.

Omeprazole Dosage

There are three dosage levels available: 10mg, 20mg and 40mg. The 10mg tablets are also available to buy over the counter.

The dosage level will depend on what the doctor recommends for you and the severity of the condition. Sometimes your doctor will increase the dosage if it isn’t working on you or you may start with a higher dosage to begin with and lower it after a while.

How to take Omeprazole

  • One capsule per day, swallowed whole with water.
  • Take it at the same time in the morning before food.

How long will I take it for?

If you bought it over the counter, you should take one tablet daily for a maximum of two weeks and consult a doctor if you haven’t seen any improvements in your health. They may want to carry out some tests to see what is causing your symptoms or suggest other medication.

Everybody responds differently to the medication and it depends on your illness and the reason for taking Omeprazole. It is best to consult with your doctor about what is best for you.

What if I take too much?

If you accidentally exceed the recommended dosage by taking 1 or 2 extra doses, it is unlikely that it will cause problems, but contact your doctor if you start suffering from any of these symptoms:

  • Flushed skin
  • Feel sweaty
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling confused/agitated
  • Quicker heartbeat
  • Feel sleepy

Can you buy Omeprazole over the counter?

The 10mg is the only dosage that can bought over the counter, which is the same as the prescription medication but these are intended for adults only and to be taking for up to 4 weeks. Otherwise, the medication is only available with a prescription.

If you want to buy your medication online, online pharmacies such as Pharmica is a safe way to ensure that you are purchasing genuine medication. After completing a short medical questionnaire, your answers will be reviewed and if you meet the requirements to take Omeprazole, your medication will be delivered to you discreetly and safely so you can buy in confidence.

What are the side effects of taking Omeprazole?

1 in 100 people suffer from the following side effects:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation

If you do suffer from these side effects and it starts to get in the way of your daily activities, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

More serious side effects (rare)

  • Yellow skin, dark urine and tiredness – signs of liver issues.
  • Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus – joint pains along with skin rash. This condition however, is rare to occur.

Contact your doctor immediately if you start to develop these side effects.

What happens if you take Omeprazole for a long period of time?

After 3 months of using Omeprazole, your magnesium levels in your body may fall, causing you to feel tired, confused, suffer from an irregular heart beat and muscle twitches. If any of these occur, you should talk to your doctor.

If you take Omeprazole for over a year, your doctor will review your health and determine whether you are still suitable for the medication. If you have taken the medication for over a year you may increase your chances of developing some side effects including: bone fracture, vitamin B12 deficiency or gut infections.

What is Losec?

Losec is the brand name for the Omeprazole. It works in exactly the same way as Omeprazole and contains the same quantity of the active ingredient, Omeprazole so it is medically equivalent. The difference is in the price where Losec is more expensive to buy as it is the ‘branded’ version.

Small improvements in your lifestyle can also help reduce your acid reflux. These include:

  • Quitting smoking.
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Wearing more loose-fitting clothing
  • Elevating your head when sleeping
  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Reducing your caffeine intake

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