Omeprazole Capsules (10mg, 20mg, 40mg)

  • Commonly prescribed treatment for acid refulux
  • Relieves the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn
  • Reduces excessive stomach acid

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What is Omeprazole?

Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that has been used to treat acid related conditions since 1989. Omeprazole is a widely used medicine and is often included on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines which lists medicine considered to be the safest and most effective for the global health system.

Omeprazole belongs to a group of medicines known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). It is a commonly prescribed and effective acid reflux treatment.

As a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI), Omeprazole works by suppressing the activity of proton pumps, which produce acids in the stomach. This decreases the amount of acid in your stomach, relieving acid reflux and the symptoms of heartburn.

Omeprazole is available in doses of 10mg, 20mg and 40mg, however omeprazole is also available over the counter in lower doses than the typical prescription strength versions of Omeprazole.

What is Omeprazole used to treat?

Omeprazole capsules are commonly used to treat the likes of heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux.

Stomach acid is vital for the digestive process, as it breaks down the food before it reaches the intestine. The oesophagus is protected from these acids by a group of muscles, but sometimes an excessive amount of acid can enter the oesophagus, which is known as acid reflux.

This medicine can relieve symptoms for up to 72 hours; the acid levels in your body will return to their previous levels between three and five days after you stop taking Omeprazole.

Omeprazole 20mg can also be used to treat Gastritis. It is also highly recommended for individuals taking over the counter painkillers such as naproxen or asprin on a consistent basis as this can erode the stomach lining leading to Gastritis.

How does Omeprazole work?

Proton pumps are very small substances located within the lining of the stomach, that help the stomach to produce acid in order to digest food. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor and works by stopping the proton pumps from working properly and as a result decreases the level of acid that is produced.

The inhibitory effects of Omeprazole are fast acting and can be felt within just 1 hour of taking it. The maximum effects of Omeprazole will occur within 2 hours and can last for approximately 72 hours.

How to take Omeprazole

  • Swallow tablets whole with a glass of water
  • The tablets should be taken whole, not crushed or chewed
  • Omeprazole should be ingested 30 to 60 minutes before meals
  • If Omeprazole needs to be taken twice daily, the first dose should be before breakfast with the second dose before dinner
  • For patients that struggle with swallowing capsules, the contents of the capsule can be opened and sprinkled into a glass of water. Drink the entire contents of the glass within 30 minutes.

All instructions on how to take Omeprazole will be included on the dosage instructions supplied by your doctor. 

How you should take omeprazole will also depend on your diagnosis and the dose and frequency that you have been prescribed.

We recommend reading our step by step guide on how to take Omeprazole.

Who can take Omeprazole?

Omeprazole capsules may not be suitable for everyone to take. It is also possible that certain doses of Omeprazole may not be suitable for specific conditions. For example, your doctor or pharmacist may prescribe a higher dose such as Omeprazole 20mg or 40mg capsules, particularly if you are experiencing painful symptoms. Likewise, if your condition does not require a stronger dose, you may be offered Omeprazole over the counter in a lower dose which is usually suitable for mild to moderate acid reflux/heartburn.

On the other hand, your doctor may choose not to prescribe you this treatment, and instead may suggest a different treatment option.

While this proton pump inhibitor is generally considered safe for most people, you should inform your doctor if any of the below apply to you:

  • You are due to have an endoscopy
  • You have liver problems
  • You have had an allergic reaction to Omeprazole or any other medicines in the past

If you are due to have an endoscopy, you should ask your doctor if you should stop taking this medicine a few weeks beforehand. Omeprazole may hide some of the problems that an endoscopy would normally pick up.

Can you buy Omeprazole over the counter?

Yes, you can buy Omeprazole over the counter in the UK; typically, this will come as a lower dose than the prescription strength. You can buy Omeprazole over the counter in the UK in most pharmacies and major supermarkets.

It is recommended to always start off with an over the counter option before moving onto a higher strength such as Omeprazole 20mg if needed as this allows your body to react to the medicine. 

There are also a wide range of over the counter options that contain omeprazole as the active ingredient. 

Can you buy Omeprazole Online in the UK?

Yes, you can buy Omeprazole online in the UK. You will be required to complete an online consultation for a doctor or prescriber to be able to assess your condition. You can buy Omeprazole online in several different strengths, ranging from 10mg, 20mg and 40mg.

If you are looking to buy omeprazole online, you must always ensure the pharmacy you are purchasing from is a fully licenced UK regulated pharmacy. For more information our our pharmacy, company, team and who we are regulated by, visit our about us page.

Omeprazole Alternatives

Other PPI prescription medicine used to treat acid reflux include Lansoprazole and Pantoprazole which also have a very similar mechanism of action as Omeprazole. With the main difference being the active ingredient contained in each drug.

Omeprazole over the counter is available in lower doses, without a prescription, and may be a treatment option before moving onto the higher strength doses such as Omeprazole 20mg or 40mg. It is recommended starting with Omeprazole over the counter, in a lower dose to see how your body reacts to the treatment.

If Omeprazole over the counter does not help to relieve your symptoms, it is likely your doctor or pharmacist will prescribe a higher dose such as Omeprazole 20mg or 10mg, or an alternative.

Read our guide on Omeprazole alternatives for more information on other treatment options similar to Omeprazole.

Omeprazole Dose and Indications

All of our pharmacists and doctors follow NICE guidelines when prescribing Omeprazole. Always take Omeprazole 20mg capsules as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have purchased Omeprazole over the counter, this will not come with any doctors’ instructions, however there will be instructions and guidance on how to take this medicine located on the back of the medicine box. Additionally, Omeprazole over the counter versions will also come with a patient information leaflet located within the medicine box.

Read the Patient Information Leaflet thoroughly for instructions.

For more information on the different Omeprazole dosages that may be best suited to your condition, you can read our helpful Omeprazole dose medical guide.

Omeprazole FAQ's

How do you Buy Omeprazole online?

You can buy Omeprazole 10/20/40mg online from most Online Pharmacies. However, you will be required to complete an online consultation as this medicine is prescription only.

How quickly does Omeprazole start to work?

The inhibitory effects of Omeprazole can be felt within just 1 hour. The full effects can be felt in just 2 hours; however it may take 2-3 days for Omeprazole to completely ease your symptoms.

Can you take Omeprazole with other Painkillers?

Yes, you can take common painkillers such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen with Omeprazole.

Are there any Omeprazole alternatives?

Other proton pump inhibitors such as Pantoprazole and Lansoprazole are suitable alternatives to Omeprazole. They work in a very similar way and are highly effective at treating acid related conditions.

What is the difference between Omeprazole and Lansoprazole?

The main active ingredients in Omeprazole and Lansoprazole are different. However, overall, they are very similar medicines, they belong to the same class of drugs and are used to treat the same conditions.

Can you drink alcohol whilst taking Omeprazole?

Yes, you can drink alcohol whilst taking Omeprazole. However alcohol directly increases stomach acid production which may make omeprazole less effective. Alcohol also increases your risk of experiencing side effects.

Can you take Omeprazole for a long time?

Typically, Omeprazole should only be taken for 14 days unless prescribed otherwise by your doctor. For some conditions a longer course of treatment may be required. Always take omeprazole exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

When should you take omeprazole?

Omeprazole should be taken 30 minutes before a meal, preferably breakfast. When taken on an empty stomach, omeprazole is absorbed into the body quicker and more effectively.

Should I change my diet?

Diet largely impacts excessive stomach acid production, you should try and avoid rich, spicy, or fatty foods which increase stomach acid. Cutting down on alcohol, caffeine and losing weight have all been shown to help with acid reflux related conditions.

Omeprazole Side Effects

Common side effects of Omeprazole:

  • Nausea/sickness
  • Stomach ache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Wind (Gas)
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Faint
  • Acid Reflux (also includes heartburn/indigestion)
  • Constipation
  • Skin rash
  • Cough

Our guide on Omeprazole side effects contains more information on common and serious side effects to look out for when taking Omeprazole.

Alternatively, you should always read the patient information leaflet located within your box of medicine. This includes a full list of side effects.

Omeprazole Warnings and drug interactions

Like all medications, Omeprazole might interact with other medicine.

Please be sure to tell your doctor if you are already taking, or have recently taken, any other medicines. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, you should make sure they are aware if you are taking, or have recently taken, any of the following:

  • Any medicine containing nelfinavir (used in medications for the HIV infection)
  • Medicines to treat a fungal infection, such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole or voriconazole
  • Digoxin to treat heart problems
  • Diazepam, which is prescribed to treat epilepsy or anxiety, or to relax the muscles
  • The epilepsy treatment phenytoin
  • Vitamin K blockers or medicines to thin your blood, such as warfarin
  • Rifampicin to treat tuberculosis
  • Atazanavir to treat HIV
  • Any medicines or remedies that contain St John's Wort, which is often used to treat mild depression
  • Tacrolimus
  • Cilostazol
  • Saquinavir
  • Clopidogrel
  • Erlotinib
  • Methotrexate

If you have any questions or concerns as to whether this medicine is suitable for you, please do not hesitate to speak to your doctor before you start to take it.

For more information on Omeprazole Drug Interactions.

Omeprazole Pregnancy and breastfeeding warning

This medication is safe for women to take if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

However, if you are pregnant, it is better to try and treat indigestion without medicine.

Your doctor or midwife will suggest certain lifestyle and dietary changes you could make to cut down your acid reflux.

We recommending reading more about the recommended use of Omeprazole during pregnancy.

Omeprazole Ingredients

The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Omeprazole

For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics

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Please note that next day delivery to Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands & Islands and British Isles cannot be guaranteed. Please contact our team for more information.

Written byHussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Published on: 12/10/2020

Updated on: 07/05/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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