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Nov 3, 2022

Gut Health


Things You Should Know About Lansoprazole

How Does Lansoprazole Work?

Lansoprazole is a medication in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Proton pumps usually release acid into your stomach to make stomach acid. Stomach acid is essential for getting nutrients out of your food and breaking it down to components we can absorb. However, sometimes this acid gets to places it normally shouldn’t be and this can cause pain and injury.

How PPIs work

PPIs work to stop this pump from releasing acid into the stomach, thus preventing damage caused by this stomach acid.

PPIs vs. Antacids

While both types of medications are used to treat conditions caused by stomach acid, they have different uses and mechanisms of action.

Antacids are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that any person can buy when they have acid related symptoms. They are simple medications that work by neutralizing the excess acid in your stomach. Antacids are very basic, and when something comes into contact with something acidic, a reaction called “neutralization” occurs, producing a neutral product that won’t burn your throat anymore.

PPIs are prescription medications, and instead of neutralizing the acid to make it less damaging, they treat the source of the problem—the production of acid itself. Since PPIs prevent the production of acid in your stomach, the neutralization of that acid is unnecessary.

Antacids are safe and work quickly, so they are preferable for acute attacks of heartburn, but they do not stop this heartburn from occurring, they just treat it when it does happen. PPIs on the other hand, take more time to work, but are much more effective and treat the problem at its source. They are therefore prescribed by a healthcare provider when this issue persists.

Learn more about OTC products to treat acid reflux.

Which Conditions does Lansoprazole Treat?

Lansoprazole is a very widely used medication and has a very long list of indications, including:

  • Treatment of GERD
  • Maintenance healing of erosive esophagitis
  • Duodenal Ulcers
    • Short-term treatment of active duodenal ulcers
    • Treatment of NSAID-associated gastric ulcers
    • Risk reduction of gastric ulcers with NSAID use
  • Gastric (stomach) ulcers
    • Short-term treatment of active gastric ulcers
    • Treatment of NSAID-associated gastric ulcers
    • Risk reduction of gastric ulcers with NSAID use

Stomach acid is very acidic—even stronger than vinegar or lemon juice. Because of this, it can actually burn if it comes into contact with tissue that isn’t protected. Your stomach has a protective lining of mucus, so the acid can’t reach the stomach tissue below. However, sometimes this acid will reflux back up into your throat, which does not have this protective mucus layer. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition where frequent acid reflux begins to damage the throat.

When GERD is left untreated, it can lead to a condition called “erosive esophagitis”, where the tissue in your throat can become very damaged. Erosive esophagitis makes swallowing very painful and difficult and is very important to treat as it can be dangerous if left untreated.

A course of lansoprazole would reduce the amount of stomach acid being made, and therefore either prevent erosive esophagitis from occurring, or take the acid away for long enough for it to heal.

Another serious condition caused by acid getting somewhere it shouldn’t is called an ulcer. Ulcers are sores that form in your stomach or duodenum (the part of your digestive system that comes right after your stomach). Ulcers form when the stomach or duodenal protective mucus layer gets worn down and then the tissue below gets exposed to stomach acid, which chews away at the tissue and forms an ulcer. The two main ways that this happens are by prolonged non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) use, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or by an infection with the bacteria Heliobacter pylori which can actually survive in the acidity of the stomach.

For an ulcer caused by NSAID-use, it is generally recommended to either reduce the dose or switch from an NSAID to another painkiller such as acetaminophen. For H. pylori ulcers, you would also require a course of 2-3 antibiotics to fight off these bacteria. In both cases, a PPI will also be prescribed to remove some of the stomach acid long enough to allow the ulcer to heal.

Hypersecretory conditions are conditions where your stomach is making too much stomach acid. This then leads to issues such as ulcers, GERD, erosive esophagitis, or even bleeding in your digestive system. These conditions require long-term treatment with PPIs to prevent acid-related damage.

Lansoprazole Side Effects

While not common, there are some possible side effects that you may experience while taking lansoprazole. These include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

If you do experience any side effects while taking lansoprazole, speak with your healthcare provider as they will determine if it is in your best interest to keep taking the medication.

Can I Take Lansoprazole While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Studies in animals have not shown there to be any danger to the fetus when the pregnant mother is given lansoprazole, even at very high doses. However, there have not been any sufficient studies in humans due to the possible health risks to the pregnant mother or fetus. Because of this, it is recommended to avoid lansoprazole if you are pregnant, if possible, but there is likely not a major high risk to remain on it if necessary.

Lansoprazole is excreted in breastmilk, but there are no adequate studies determining if it is safe for a nursing infant to receive small amounts of lansoprazole in this milk. Because of that, it’s also recommended to avoid lansoprazole, if possible, while breastfeeding.

Drug-Drug Interaction

Many medications cannot be taken at the same time as one another. This could be because one medication makes another less effective, more effective, or sometimes medications will react in the body and become dangerous. In the case of lansoprazole, there are a number of medications that work differently if taken while on this PPI.

Some of the medications that have been identified by the manufacturer to interact with lansoprazole include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Warfarin
  • Tacrolimus
  • Theophylline
  • Clopidogrel
  • Atazanavir

There are many more medications that have possible interactions with lansoprazole, so it’s important to disclose all your prescription and over-the-counter medications to your healthcare provider. They may decide to alter the dose of one of your medications, or to monitor you more closely to ensure your safety.

Is it Safe to Take Lansoprazole Long-term?

Some of the uses for lansoprazole require you to be on it for a long period of time, or even indefinitely. While this is necessary for the treatment of some conditions, there are some drawbacks to having long-term suppression of acid in your stomach.

One of the most well documented risks is the possibility of developing a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium, require the acidity of the stomach to be released from food and/or absorbed into your body. Because of this, long-term suppression of this acid can lead to a lack of vitamin and mineral absorption and, therefore, to deficiencies.

Another possibility with long-term PPI use is the increased risk of developing an infection in your digestive system from the bacteria Clostridium difficile (klaa·stri·dee·uhm dee·fee·seel). This infection causes extreme abdominal pain and frequent watery diarrhea. It can be hard to treat once the infection has developed, so it’s best to avoid this if possible.

There are a number of other possible risks while taking PPIs long-term, but they are not as extensively studied, so it’s difficult to make concrete conclusions.

To learn more about the risks of taking PPIs long-term, you can read this blog.

What is the Right Dose for Me?

This will be decided by your healthcare provider based on your specific condition and medical history. Lansoprazole comes in 15 and 30 mg capsules. It can be dosed from one to three times daily, but most is frequently just a single dose per day. It is important to take the medication exactly as directed.

How Should I Take Lansoprazole?

Lansoprazole should be taken at the same time(s) every day to ensure it’s as effective as possible. If taken as a single dose per day, the medication should be taken 30–60 minutes before breakfast. If you take multiple doses per day, the other doses should also be taken 30–60 minutes before a meal. The pills should not be crushed, broken, or chewed – they must be swallowed whole.

If you forget to take your dose, take the missed medication as soon as you remember. However, if it’s close to your next dose just skip your missed pill(s) and take your next dose as scheduled. Don’t take two doses at one time.

How Much Does Lansoprazole Cost?

At a typical pharmacy, a 30-capsule supply of 30 mg lansoprazole would cost you anywhere from $12 to $185. Additionally, if you were prescribed a dosing frequency of two 30 mg capsules per day, the cost of one month of this medication would increase to a range of $41 to $366!

However, at Marley Drug you can get a 6-month supply of lansoprazole for $37, or a 12-month supply for $70.

Order Lansoprazole

How can we offer such low prices? At Marley Drug we get our medications directly from medication wholesalers, cutting out the step involving insurance companies. Insurance companies are usually responsible for increasing the prices of medications with their “service fees”, so cutting out this step can dramatically reduce the cost of some medications for you.

Marley Drug also offers free shipping on the 6- and 12- month supplies, so you can get your medication delivered directly to your door at no extra cost.

To learn more about how you can get your lansoprazole prescription from Marley Drug, just call us at 1-800-810-7790.

Prices mentioned in this article are based on average retail price at major box chain pharmacy in the U.S. as of July 6, 2022
  1. Prevacid (lansoprazole) – Access data FDA-Approved Drugs [Internet]. [*****amended 12/2014; accessed 06/2022].
  2. Koyyada, A. (2021). Long-term use of proton pump inhibitors as a risk factor for various adverse manifestations. Therapies, 76(1), 13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.therap.2020.06.019
  3. Nehra, A., Alexander, J., Loftus, C., & Nehra, V. (2018). Proton Pump Inhibitors: Review of Emerging Concerns. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 93(2), 240-246. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.10.022

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