A proton-pump inhibitor (PPI), it is used to treat frequent heartburn caused by acid reflux — the backup of stomach acid or bile into the esophagus.
The anti-ulcer drug is offered as a delayed-release capsule and an orally disintegrating (dissolving) tablet, which is taken by mouth. Following disintegration, it releases the medication in the intestine to prevent breakdown of the medication by stomach acids.
Marketed by Novartis, a Switzerland-based healthcare company, it was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995, and has been available over the counter in the U.S. in a 15-mg dose since 2009.
Prevacid (lansoprazole) — which is in the same pharmacologic class of medications as omeprazole — works by decreasing the amount of acid made in the stomach, allowing the esophagus to heal. It can be used to prevent ulcers (sores in the lining of the stomach or intestine) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced ulcers.
The drug can also be used to treat conditions where the stomach produces too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Proton pump inhibitors were used by more than 15 million Americans in 2013. Unfortunately, there have been several complications associated with PPIs that have reportedly caused serious harm to people. Newer studies now show a link between several PPIs and chronic kidney disease, in which the kidneys lose their ability to filter blood effectively.
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