People taking the heartburn drug omeprazole, known by the brand name Prilosec, should be aware that it can adversely interact with many other prescription medications, warns Worst Pills, Best Pills, a newsletter that reviews more than 1,800 prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and supplements.

Omeprazole belongs to a family of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPIs. The drug is available both OTC and by prescription, and is available in a variety of generic versions. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat several stomach acid conditions including ulcers in the stomach and small intestines; gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD; acid reflux; and heartburn. The drug is also sold in combination with other medications, such as Zegerid, which combines omeprazole with the antacid sodium bicarbonate.

Omeprazole may reduce the effectiveness of certain antiviral drugs, like those to treat HIV infection such as indinavir and rilpivirine. Omeprazole may also increase levels of methotrexate to toxic levels and lead to anemia; low white blood cell count, which increases the risk for infections; low platelet counts, which can cause bleeding; liver damage; and kidney failure. Methotrexate is a medication used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and several cancers.

When omeprazole is combined with the seizure drug phenytoin, it could increase levels of phenytoin in the blood resulting in loss of muscle coordination, involuntary repetitive eye movements, slurred speech, sleepiness, and confusion.

Other medications that may adversely interact with omeprazole include the anticoagulant warfarin, generic antifungal drug ketoconazole, antidepressants escitalopram (Lexapro) and citalopram (Celexa), and the antianxiety drug diazepam (Valium).

PPI lawsuits

Attorneys with Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating claims from people who have used proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and suffered from PPI-induced acute interstitial nephritis (AIN), a renal lesion causes inflammation in the kidneys and a decline in renal function. If you have been diagnosed with AIN after regularly using PPIs, we would like to talk with you. Contact Elizabeth A. Eiland or Tiffany Birley, some of our leading pharmaceutical attorneys in charge of PPI claims.

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