Pantoprazole

Sounds like 'pan-TO-pra-zol'

Easy-to-read medicine information about pantoprazole – what it is, how to take pantoprazole safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Proton pump inhibitor
  • Acidazol®
  • Pantoprazole (Dr Reddy's)®
  • Pantoprazole (Actavis)®

What is pantoprazole?

  • Pantoprazole reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
  • It is used to treat a number of stomach-related conditions caused by too much acid, such as indigestion, reflux, and ulcers.
  • It can also prevent ulcers from forming, or help the healing process where damage has already occurred.
  • Pantoprazole may be given (along with antibiotics) to get rid of Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria found in the stomach which can cause ulcers.
  • Pantoprazole may be used to prevent ulcers caused by medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Examples of NSAIDs are diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen.

Dose

  • The usual dose of pantoprazole is 40 mg once a day.
  • For some people, 20 mg once a day is enough.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much pantoprazole to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.
  • Duration (how long you need to take it) varies from one week to many years.
  • If you have been taking pantoprazole for a year or more, ask your doctor if you could step down to an H2 blocker (such as ranitidine). Recent studies suggest there may be a number of risks from long-term use of proton pump inhibitors like pantoprazole including an increased risk of heart attacks, bone fractures and nutrient deficiencies such as low magnesium.

How to take pantoprazole?

  • Take pantoprazole at the same time each day, usually in the morning.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not crush or chew - it does not work properly if the tablet is crushed or chewed.
  • Pantoprazole can be taken before or after food, although taking it before food is preferable.
  • If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day.
  • But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the amount.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, pantoprazole can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Stomach upset, feeling sick,
  • Feeling bloated, gas in the tummy
  • Diarrhoea,
  • Constipation
  • These are quite common when you first start taking pantoprazole.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome 
  • Signs of low magnesium such as muscle cramps, weakness, tiredness, feeling irritable, and changes in heart beat
  • Increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods such as wholegrain cereals, green leafy vegetables (spinach, parsley, cabbage), peas, lean meats, nuts, seeds and bananas
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome — you may need a magnesium supplement
  • Severe diarrhoea (loose, watery, frequent stools)  
  • Pantoprazole can increase the chance of getting severe diarrhoea (which may be caused by a bacteria called clostridium difficle)
  • Stop pantoprazole and tell your doctor immediately 
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as rash, fever, painful joints
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116 
  • Worsening stomach problems such as really bad stomach pain, blood in the stool or black stools, vomit blood or dark coloured vomit.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116 

Interactions

Pantoprazole may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information Pantoprazole

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr Janine Bycroft, GP, Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 25 Jun 2015