Rabeprazole to reduce stomach acid

  • Rabeprazole reduces the amount of acid produced in your stomach.
  • Swallow the tablets whole - do not chew or crush them.
  • Any side-effects are usually mild in nature and do not last for long.

About rabeprazole

Type of medicine Proton pump inhibitor
Used for Gastric ulcers, duodenal ulcers, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, Helicobacter pylori infection, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
Also called Pariet®
Available as Tablets

Acid is produced naturally in your stomach to help you digest food and to kill bacteria. This acid is irritant so your body produces a natural mucous barrier which protects the lining of your stomach. In some people, this barrier breaks down allowing the acid to damage the stomach, causing inflammation, ulcers and other conditions. In other people there may be a problem with the muscular band at the top of the stomach that keeps the stomach tightly closed. This may allow the acid to escape and irritate the oesophagus. This is called 'acid reflux' and can cause heartburn and/or oesophagitis.

Proton pump inhibitors such as rabeprazole stop cells in the lining of the stomach from producing too much acid. This helps to prevent ulcers from forming, or assists the healing process where damage has already occurred. By decreasing the amount of acid, they can also help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux disease, such as heartburn.

Rabeprazole is also used as one part of a treatment to get rid of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found in the stomach, which can cause ulcers.

Before taking rabeprazole

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking rabeprazole it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have liver problems.
  • If you have any of the following symptoms: bleeding, difficulty swallowing, being sick frequently, or unexplained weight loss.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.

How to take rabeprazole

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about rabeprazole and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take rabeprazole exactly as your doctor has told you. It is usually taken once a day in the morning. However, if you are taking rabeprazole for Helicobacter pylori eradication, you will be asked to take two doses a day - one in the morning and one in the evening. Your doctor will tell you which dose is right for you and it will also be on the label of your pack.
  • Rabeprazole tablets have a special coating so you should swallow them whole - do not chew or crush the tablets.
  • Try to take rabeprazole at the same times each day. This will help you to remember to take all of your doses.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Your doctor may have prescribed you a course of treatment lasting a number of weeks. Keep your regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be checked.
  • Some foods may make your symptoms worse. Foods and drinks that have been suspected of this include: peppermint, tomatoes, chocolate, spicy foods, hot drinks, coffee, and alcoholic drinks. If it seems that a food is aggravating your symptoms, try avoiding it for a while to see if your symptoms improve. Also, try avoiding eating large meals, as these can make your symptoms worse too.
  • If you are overweight, it puts extra pressure on your stomach and encourages the symptoms of acid reflux. Losing some weight and eating a healthy balanced diet may help you.
  • Smoking increases the amount of acid produced by the stomach and may make your symptoms worse. If you are a smoker, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about how to quit.
  • Recent studies suggest that there may be a slight increase in the risk of bone fractures when proton pump inhibitors like rabeprazole are taken for longer than a year. If this affects you, speak with your doctor to check that you are taking enough vitamin D and calcium to reduce this risk.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking rabeprazole.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with rabeprazole.

Can rabeprazole cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common rabeprazole side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Dizziness Getting up or moving more slowly may help. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines
Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain, wind Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy foods
Diarrhoea Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids
Constipation Try to eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink plenty of water each day
Flu-like infections, cough, runny or stuffy nose, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, and back pain If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to rabeprazole, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store rabeprazole

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.