Acid is produced naturally in your stomach to help you digest food and to kill bacteria. This acid is irritant so your body produces a natural mucous barrier which protects the lining of your stomach. In some people, this barrier can break down allowing the acid to damage the stomach, causing inflammation, ulcers and other conditions. Other people can have a problem with the muscular band at the top of the stomach that keeps the stomach tightly closed. This may allow the acid to escape and irritate the oesophagus, causing heartburn. This is often referred to as 'acid reflux'.
Proton pump inhibitors such as lansoprazole stop cells in the lining of the stomach from producing too much acid. This helps to prevent ulcers from forming, or assists the healing process where damage has already occurred. By decreasing the amount of acid, they can also help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux disease, such as heartburn.
Lansoprazole is also given as one part of a treatment to get rid of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found in the stomach, which can cause ulcers.
Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about lansoprazole and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
Take lansoprazole exactly as your doctor tells you to. There are different strengths of tablets and capsules available so your doctor will tell you which is right for you. It is usually taken once a day in the morning. If you are taking it for either Helicobacter pylori eradication or for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, it is likely you will be asked to take two doses a day. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you and the directions will also be on the label of the pack to remind you.
Lansoprazole should be taken at least 30 minutes before a meal, which is usually breakfast. This is because your body absorbs less lansoprazole after you have eaten a meal, so the medicine is less effective. If you have been asked to take two doses daily, take your first dose 30 minutes before breakfast and your second dose in the evening.
If you have been given capsules to take, swallow the capsule with a drink of water. Do not chew, crush or open the capsule before you swallow.
If you have been given orodispersible tablets (Zoton FasTabsŪ), you can swallow the tablet with a drink of water as usual, or you can place it on your tongue and allow it to 'melt' there before you swallow. Alternatively, you can stir it into a small amount of water to take it.
Do not take indigestion remedies during the two hours before or during the two hours after you take lansoprazole as they can interfere with the way lansoprazole is absorbed by your body.
If you forget to take a dose at your usual time, you can take it when you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten dose.
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with lansoprazole. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
Common lansoprazole side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)
- Stomach upset (such as feeling sick (nausea), stomach ache, or wind)
- Feeling dizzy or tired
- Dry mouth or throat, itchy skin rash
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking lansoprazole it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have any of the following symptoms: difficulty swallowing, loss of blood, weight loss, or if you are being sick (vomiting).
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet