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Omeprazole And Ranitidine

omeprazole and ranitidine

What are Prilosec and Zantac?

Prilosec (omeprazole) is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that block the production of acid by the stomach. Other PPIs include lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium). Proton pump inhibitors are used for the treatment of conditions such as ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which are all caused by stomach acid. Omeprazole, like other proton-pump inhibitors, blocks the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid so the production of acid is decreased, allowing the stomach and esophagus to heal.

How they work

Prilosec is a brand name for the generic drug omeprazole. It works by blocking the pumps in your stomach that produce acid. Zantac is a brand name for a different generic drug, ranitidine. Zantac blocks a chemical in your body called histamine that activates the acid pumps.


Prilosec and Zantac come in tablet, capsule, and liquid forms that you take by mouth. For either drug, the typical length of treatment is two to eight weeks, depending on what you’re treating. These drugs are used to treat similar conditions, including:

  • heartburn
  • stomach upset
  • GERD
  • stomach or duodenal ulcers
  • erosive esophagitis
  • hypersecretory conditions
  • peptic ulcers caused by certain types of cancer

In addition, Prilosec can also treat H. pylori infection and Barrett’s esophagus.

OTC Prilosec and Zantac can be used in infants who are one month or older if prescribed by a doctor. That said, self-treatment with Prilosec is not recommended in children who are younger than 18 years. And for Zantac, self-treatment is not recommended in children younger than 12 years. These drugs should only be used in children of these ages if recommended or prescribed by a doctor.


The study, conducted between August 1992 and April 1995, was an international double-blind, randomized evaluation of omeprazole and ranitidine for healing and preventing gastroduodenal lesions in patients receiving long-term treatment with NSAIDs. The study was conducted in 73 centers in 15 countries, in accordance with the principles of good clinical practice16 and the Declaration of Helsinki (Tokyo amendments).

Doctors Opinions

My research into acid inhibiting medication (Proton Pump Inhibitors PPI’s and H2-Recptors) started in 2011 after liaising with two well-respected New Zealand doctors who insisted the real facts needed to be known by parents.  The doctors, like a growing number world-wide, are strongly opposed to the distribution of these pharmaceuticals for newborns.  They are mortified that these prescription drugs are being pushed as a treatment for GOR/GER and often without formal investigation.1 They have asked to remain anoymonous but say, ‘they are interested in effecting change and prefer to see alternatives prescribed before doctors and paediatricians jump to prescribe PPIs.’

One of the doctors has a complete understanding of a parents’ predicament when dealing with the behaviour of reflux, silent reflux or inconsolable crying.  Her daughter posseted copious amounts of milk, screamed for hours on end and would finally sleep from exhaustion, only to start the cycle again the next day.  During this horrendous, heart-wrenching time, this doctor still refused to place her baby on acid-suppressing drugs.  Her factual reasons:

  • there have been no clinical trials to ascertain the long-term effects on newborns
  • there have been no studies for children under the age of one, and the studies for infants are minimal
  • the trials on adults and rats show too many adverse effects in the use of acid inhibitors
  • without her daughter’s communication she could not be sure if she was experiencing some of the side effects
  • the withdrawal of a PPI causes rebound acid secretion, meaning that her daughter would experience worse discomfort from an excess production of acid when taken off the PPI’s or H2-Receptor Blockers.  A baby’s heightened communication from this acid overabundance during withdrawal suggests that the drug is helping, hence some parents re-administer.
  • acid production has very little to do with the cause of reflux

Talk with your doctor

Prilosec and Zantac are similar in many ways. However, some of their key differences may include:

  • the serious side effects they may cause
  • the drugs they may interact with
  • the medical conditions they may cause problems with

If you’d like to know more about Prilosec or Zantac, talk to your doctor. They can answer any questions you may have and help you decide if one of these drugs is a good choice for you.

Medically reviewed by Alan Carter, PharmD on July 19, 2017 — Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

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