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Pantoprazole belongs to a group of medications called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI). Its common brand name is Protonix®.
Other PPIs include:
Unlike antacids, which help neutralize the stomach’s acid, pantoprazole lowers the amount of acid in the gastrointestinal region.
The drug reduces gastric acidity to treat medical conditions, such as:
Those with GERD experience a backward acid flow from the stomach. This results in heartburn.
Acid reflux may damage the esophagus. Using pantoprazole helps the esophagus heal and prevents more damage to the area.
People develop this condition when tumors appear in the pancreas or upper area of the small intestine. These tumors release a hormone called gastrin in large quantities.
This release causes the stomach to make too much acid. Possible problems due to this excess acid include peptic ulcers, diarrhea, and more.
Pantoprazole is available only under prescription. The drug is strong and can provide both short and long-term side effects.
To treat mild symptoms of GERD, healthcare providers often recommend prescription or OTC antacid medication or H2 blockers. H2 blockers are another type of medication that treats excessive acid secretion.
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Those who take pantoprazole may experience the following side effects:1
A healthcare professional may prescribe pantoprazole for short-term use because of the potential long-term side effects. It's always best to speak with a medical provider to determine if pantoprazole can be continued.
The following list describes some of the side effects that people may experience over time:
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) determined that the risk of fractures due to PPI use was valid.5
Low stomach acid levels may lessen calcium absorption in the small intestine. This could contribute to osteoporosis and a higher risk of breaking bones, especially the hip bone.
According to some studies, those who took PPIs were more likely to develop pneumonia than those who didn't.6
PPIs reduce stomach acid, making the stomach environment more hospitable for bacteria. As such, more bacteria may be present and can travel up the esophagus.
The bacteria could be inhaled into the respiratory system. Bacteria in the lungs could cause pneumonia.
Stomach acid helps draw iron and vitamin B12 from food for easier absorption.
Lower stomach acid levels caused by PPIs could mildly affect absorption. This could lead to a possible deficiency of both the mineral and vitamin.
C. difficile refers to Clostridium difficile. This is a type of bacteria that affects the large intestine. It can cause diarrhea or more severe health problems.
There's no confirmed direct cause and effect between PPIs and this type of infection. However, some evidence suggests that PPIs could alter gut conditions that encourage the growth of C. difficile bacteria.7
People should speak to their specialists about eating cranberries while taking this medication. There may be an increased risk of experiencing some side effects.
Long-term use of pantoprazole can lead to the body depending on it. This means that if someone has taken the drug for a long time, it's not recommendable to quit the drug suddenly.
Quitting 'cold turkey' may cause the stomach to produce much more acid and invite the return of symptoms.
However, you can stop taking the drug in most short-term cases without cutting back on the dose first. It is important to always discuss this with your healthcare provider before stopping.
People can drink alcohol moderately with pantoprazole. It doesn't directly interfere with the drug.
Nevertheless, it's essential to remember that alcohol can cause the stomach to make more acid than usual. This acid production can irritate the stomach lining and worsen symptoms, like drowsiness.
Additionally, if someone misuses alcohol, the risks of interactions between pantoprazole and the beverage increase.
It's best to seek medical advice to determine if alcohol consumption could affect how effective the drug is or whether it presents health risks.
Alcohol use, especially if abused over long periods, can cause different symptoms.
For example, people may suffer from:
Additionally, pantoprazole causes possible side effects and medical conditions, such as:
Consuming alcohol in excess can worsen the severity of serious side effects associated with pantoprazole. The risk of overdose and death increases, too.
There are many therapy options available for pantoprazole and alcohol use disorder.
MAT helps lower alcohol use among people with an alcohol use disorder. It can provide the support needed for someone to avoid drinking alcohol.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions can also give people the coping skills to help confront triggers or situations that may lead to alcohol consumption.
While recovery can be difficult, it isn't impossible. People can lead a more fulfilled, balanced life with the proper support and care.
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