What is this medication and its most common uses?Protonix is a medicine known as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that is used to treat and maintain erosive esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus [tube that connects your mouth and stomach]) caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for long-term treatment of conditions where your stomach makes too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Protonix is available as tablets and an oral suspension.
What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?How does this medication work?
Protonix is a delayed-release medicine (releases medicine into your body at a later time from when you take it). It works by reducing the acid in your stomach.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
Erosive Esophagitis: By reducing stomach acid, Protonix is proven to help heal acid-related damage to the lining of your esophagus and relieve symptoms such as daytime and nighttime heartburn.
Conditions Causing Increased Stomach Acid Production: Protonix may reduce the acid produced in the stomach, thereby relieving symptoms associated with this condition.
Erosive Esophagitis: Protonix may start relieving your symptoms of heartburn and works throughout the day. Studies show that Protonix can start relieving your heartburn from the first day of therapy.
Conditions Causing Increased Stomach Acid Production: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Protonix exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.
How do I know it is working?
You may start to notice a reduction in the severity or frequency of your heartburn. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider will ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your heartburn is controlled and check improvement of your condition.
What are the possible side effects of this medication?The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: headache, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, gas, dizziness, joint pain.
Children and Adolescents 1-16 Years
More common side effects may include: upper respiratory tract infection, headache, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, stomach pain.
Less common side effects of Protonix may include:
Diarrhea that does not go away.
Fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine if you take multiple doses a day for long periods.
Low blood magnesium levels with symptoms such as seizures, irregular heartbeat, jerking movements or shaking, muscle weakness, spasms of your hands and feet, cramps or muscle aches, or spasm of your voice box.
Who should not take this medication?Do not take Protonix if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Protonix. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have low magnesium levels, allergies, liver problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Treatment of Erosive Esophagitis Associated with GERD
Adults: The recommended dose is 40 milligrams (mg) once a day for up to 8 weeks. Depending on your response, your healthcare provider may suggest another 8 weeks of treatment.
Children ≥5 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.
Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis
Adults: The recommended dose is 40 mg once a day.
Conditions Causing Increased Stomach Acid Production
Adults: The recommended dose is 40 mg twice a day.
How should I take this medication?Take Protonix exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Protonix without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Take Protonix with or without food. Swallow tablets whole. Do not split, chew, or crush the tablets.
Take the oral suspension in applesauce or apple juice 30 minutes before a meal. Do not crush or chew the granules.
If you take Protonix oral suspension with applesauce, open the packet and sprinkle the granules on a teaspoonful of applesauce. Swallow within 10 minutes of preparation. Take sips of water to make sure the granules are washed down into your stomach.
If you take Protonix oral suspension with apple juice, open the packet and empty the granules into a small cup or teaspoon with 1 teaspoonful of apple juice. Stir for 5 seconds and swallow right away. Rinse the container once or twice with apple juice to remove any remaining granules and swallow right away to be sure you receive the entire dose.
What should I avoid while taking this medication?Do not take the oral suspension in or with water, other liquids, or other foods.
Do not divide the oral suspension packet to make a smaller dose.
What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?If Protonix is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Protonix with the following: ampicillin, atazanavir, digoxin, iron-containing products, ketoconazole, methotrexate, nelfinavir, or warfarin.
May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?The effects of Protonix during pregnancy are unknown. Protonix can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Protonix. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?If you miss a dose of Protonix, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
How should I store this medication?Store at room temperature.