Lansoprazole reduces the amount of acid your stomach makes. It's used for indigestion, heartburn, acid reflux and gastroesophageal-reflux-disease (GORD). Lansoprazole is also taken to prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
Sometimes, lansoprazole is taken for a rare condition caused by a tumour in the pancreas or gut called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Lansoprazole is only available on prescription. It comes as capsules and tablets.
Who can and cannot take lansoprazole
Most adults and children can take lansoprazole.
Lansoprazole is not suitable for some people. To make sure it's safe for you, tell your doctor before taking lansoprazole if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to lansoprazole or any other medicines
- have liver problems
- are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding
- are due to have an endoscopy
If you're going to have an endoscopy, ask your doctor if you should stop taking lansoprazole a few weeks before your procedure. This is because lansoprazole may hide some of the problems that would usually be spotted during an endoscopy.
How and when to take lansoprazole
You'll usually take lansoprazole once a day, first thing in the morning.
If you take lansoprazole twice a day, take 1 dose in the morning and 1 dose in the evening.
Lansoprazole works best if you take it at least 30 minutes before a meal or snack. That's because food stops some lansoprazole getting into your system.
The usual dose to treat:
- indigestion is 15mg to 30mg a day
- acid reflux is 15mg to 30mg a day
- stomach ulcers is 15mg to 30mg a day
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is 60mg a day – this can increase to 120mg a day depending on how well it works for you
Doses are usually lower for children, older people and people with liver problems.
Each tablet or capsule contains 15mg or 30mg of lansoprazole.
How to take it
Swallow the tablets or capsules whole with a drink of water or juice.
If you have problems swallowing capsules, you can open lansoprazole capsules and mix the granules inside with a little water or fruit juice, or sprinkle them onto soft food, such as yogurt or apple puree, to help you swallow them.
Lansoprazole also comes as dispersible tablets that melt in your mouth.
Changes to your dose
Sometimes your doctor will increase your dose of lansoprazole if it's not working well enough.
Depending on the reason you take lansoprazole, you may take a higher dose to begin with, usually for a month or 2.
After this, your doctor may recommend that you take a lower dose.
How long to take it for
Depending on your condition, you may only need to take lansoprazole for a few weeks or months. Sometimes you might need to take it for longer, even many years.
Some people do not need to take lansoprazole every day and take it only when they have symptoms. Once you feel better (often after a few days or weeks), you can stop taking it.
Taking lansoprazole for a short time to treat symptoms is not suitable for everyone. Discuss with your doctor what is best for you.
If you forget to take it
If you usually take lansoprazole:
- once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is within 12 hours of your next dose in which case skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time
- twice a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is within 4 hours of your next dose in which case skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicine.
If you take too much
It is very unlikely that taking 1 or 2 extra doses of lansoprazole will cause any problems.
If you take an extra dose, you might get some of the common side effects. If this happens or you're concerned, contact your doctor.
Most people who take lansoprazole do not have any side effects. If you do get a side effect, it is usually mild and will go away when you stop taking lansoprazole.
These common side effects may happen in more than 1 in 100 people.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or do not go away:
- feeling sick
- diarrhoea or being sick (vomiting)
- stomach pain
- itchy skin rashes
- feeling dizzy or tired
- dry mouth or throat
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.
Call a doctor or contact 111 straight away if you have:
- joint pain along with a red skin rash, especially in parts of your body exposed to the sun, such as your arms, cheeks and nose (this may be less noticeable on brown or black skin) – these can be signs of a rare condition called subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus. This can happen even if you've been taking lansoprazole for a long time
- stomach pain that seems to be getting worse – this can be a sign of an inflamed liver or pancreas
- severe or persistent diarrhoea – this can be a sign of an inflamed bowel
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to lansoprazole.
These are not all the side effects of lansoprazole. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
How to cope with side effects of lansoprazole
What to do about:
- headaches – make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. It's best not to drink too much alcohol. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a painkiller. Headaches should usually go away after the first week of taking lansoprazole. Talk to your doctor if they last longer than a week or are severe.
- feeling sick – it may help to not eat rich or spicy food while you're taking lansoprazole.
- diarrhoea or being sick (vomiting) – drink plenty of water or squash by having small, frequent sips to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include peeing less than usual or having dark, strong-smelling pee. Do not take any other medicines to treat diarrhoea or vomiting without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor. If diarrhoea does not get better, talk to your doctor. If you take contraceptive pills and you're being sick or have severe diarrhoea, your contraception may not protect you from pregnancy. Check the pill packet for advice.
- stomach pain – try to rest and relax. It can help to eat and drink slowly and have smaller and more frequent meals. Putting a heat pad or covered hot water bottle on your stomach may also help. If you are in a lot of pain, speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
- constipation – get more fibre into your diet such as fresh fruit, vegetables and cereals, and drink plenty of water. Try to exercise more regularly, for example, by going for a daily walk or run. If this does not help, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
- wind – try not to eat foods that cause wind like lentils, peas, beans and onions. It might also help to eat smaller and more frequent meals, eat and drink slowly, and exercise regularly. Some pharmacy remedies, such as simeticone, may help relieve the symptoms of wind.
- itchy skin rashes – it may help to take an antihistamine which you can buy from a pharmacy. Check with the pharmacist to see what type is suitable for you.
- feeling dizzy or tired – if lansoprazole makes you feel dizzy or tired, stop what you're doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Do not drive, cycle or use tools or machinery if you're feeling tired. Do not drink alcohol as it will make you feel worse.
- dry mouth or throat – chew sugar-free gum or suck sugar-free sweets.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Lansoprazole is not usually recommended if you're pregnant because there is little information about its use during pregnancy. Your doctor may recommend a similar medicine called omeprazole instead as there is more safety information available.
You may wish to treat your symptoms without taking medicine. You can try eating smaller meals more often, and avoiding fatty and spicy foods. Sit up straight when you eat, as this will take the pressure off your stomach.
If you get symptoms at night, you could prop your head and shoulders up when you go to bed. This helps to stop stomach acid coming up while you sleep.
Lansoprazole and breastfeeding
If your doctor or health visitor says your baby is healthy, it's OK to take lansoprazole while you're breastfeeding.
It is not known how much passes into breast milk but it's likely to be a very small amount and your baby will not absorb a lot into their body from the breast milk.
It is unlikely that lansoprazole will cause any side effects in your baby.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and lansoprazole can affect each other and make it more likely that you will have side effects or stop one of the medicines working as well.
Tell your doctor if you're taking any of these medicines before you start lansoprazole treatment:
- digoxin (a heart medicine)
- antifungal medicines such as itraconazole, ketoconazole or posaconazole
- methotrexate (a medicine that treats psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- HIV medicines
- phenytoin (an epilepsy medicine)
- rifampicin (an antibiotic)
- clopidogrel or warfarin (medicines to prevent or treat blood clots)
- fluvoxamine (an antidepressant)
These are not all the medicines that may not mix well with lansoprazole. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
Do not take St John's wort, the herbal remedy for depression, while you're taking lansoprazole. St John's wort may stop lansoprazole working as well as it should.
There's not enough information to say that other complementary medicines and herbal remedies are safe to take with lansoprazole. They're not tested in the same way as pharmacy and prescription medicines. They're generally not tested for the effect they have on other medicines.
Heartburn and acid reflux — Link to Related Condition
Indigestion — Link to Related Condition
Stomach ulcer — Link to Related Condition
HealthUnlocked: lansoprazole forum — Link to Useful Resource
Guts UK: digestive disorders charity — Link to Useful Resource
Campaign Against Reflux Disease (CARD): charity — Link to Useful Resource
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