What is it?
Pantoprazole sodium is a prescription drug that is most commonly used to remedy situations where there is an excess of stomach acid. It is therefore classified as a proton-pump inhibitor; highly potent drugs that have the primary function of reducing gastric acid production for long durations.
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It is usually sold under the brand name Protonix, which comes in two forms. The first form is the Protonix tablets that operate as delayed-release and come in either 20 milligrams or 40 milligrams. The second is Protonix IV, which also operates as delayed-release in 40 milligrams but is instead administered by direct injection.
What does it treat?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome are the two main conditions that it is used to treat.
Gastroesophageal reflux is a disease where stomach acid is forced or pushed inside the esophagus. This causes erosive esophagitis (aka very discomforting heartburn) that calls for medication.
Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome occurs when a tumor located in the small intestine or pancreas generates excess levels of gastrin, a hormone that gets released into the blood. The high amounts of stomach acid cause the patient abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Ask your doctor…
Prior to using any medication, you should always consult a doctor.
A few drugs have been found to have an interesting effect when taken along with pantoprazole. Bring to your doctors attention if you have used or currently use any of the following: blood thinners, diuretics, iron supplements, ampicillin, atazanavir, digoxin, ketoconazole, methotrexate, and/or nelfinavir.
Let your doctor know if you have (or have had) low magnesium levels in blood, osteoporosis, and/or seizures.
Women should inform their doctor on their pregnancy status and/or if they are breastfeeding.
If you are already using this medication it is important that you make it aware to your doctor AND dentist that you are using it. This drug has been known to have an effect on some medical tests.
Make sure to see your doctor regularly and take blood and other medical tests to make sure everything is normal.
Those of Asian descent have been known to have different reactions to Protonix, consult your doctor.
How long can I take it for?
There is no set amount of time that someone should take the medication, but it has been known to start having added effects after taking for longer than 1 year.
Some things that may happen while on pantoprazole sodium for an extended amount of time: hypomagnesemia, a deficiency in vitamin B12, and higher risk for broken spine, hip and wrist bones (this carries a higher risk for elderly prescribers and those who use other antibiotics).
Prolonged usage may increase your risk for Clostridium Difficile Colitis. This is a condition in which the large intestine becomes inflamed and leads to diarrhea.
What are the side effects?
A numerous and extensive list of side effects can be found by reading this article.
A few less severe side effects are headaches, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and slight skin rash.
Some of the more serious ones include hives, hand, face or mouth swelling, tightened chest, problems breathing, severe skin rash, heavy dizziness, increased heart rate, spasms in muscles, unceasing and intense diarrhea or stomach pains, and/or seizures.
Immediately call your doctor if any of this occurs.