Aciphex is a proton pump inhibitor whose main active ingredient is rabeprazole sodium. This drug helps people get rid of stomach conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, that are caused by too much stomach acid building up. An overproduction of stomach acid can lead to a number of medical problems, including esophageal damage and gastric ulcers. Sometimes Aciphex is used with antibiotics.
You should take great care with Aciphex. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have liver disease before you start taking this drug. And only take this drug in the dosages that your doctor recommends, and don’t stop taking it before your prescription ends, even if the stomach discomfort or other symptoms go away before that time. (Be sure to call your doctor right away if your symptoms actually worsen during the time you’re taking this medicine.) In most cases, a prescription for Aciphex will last anywhere from four weeks to eight weeks. If you have not completely recovered from whatever conditions your extra stomach acid has caused, your doctor might choose to write out a second prescription of Aciphex for you. Whatever you do, however, never take Aciphex simply because you feel like you have heartburn.
Aciphex comes in tablets that can be taken with food or without, but works best with a glass of water of at least eight ounces. If you have trouble swallowing pills, speak with your doctor. Do NOT break up or try to chew a tablet of Aciphex as a means of making it easier to swallow. If you do this, you forfeit the time-release mechanism that the tablet’s enteric coating provides, and your body may take in too much of the drug all at once. And you should store your Aciphex tablets at room temperature, in a dry and cool location.
If you happen to forget to take an Aciphex tablet at its prescribed time of the day, just swallow a tablet as soon as you remember. However, if you’re close to your next dose, don’t take two Aciphex tablets too close together in time. Another word of warning: people with low levels of magnesium in their blood should not take Aciphex, so if you begin to suffer any of the major symptoms of low magnesium, such as a faster heartbeat, dizziness, muscle cramps or jitters, choking sensations or seizures, stop taking the drug and visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Aciphex is safe for most people, but be aware that if you are over the age of fifty, or else if you take this drug for a long period of time, it can weaken the bones in your hips and wrists, as well as in your spinal column, leading to a greater chance of fractures. (Some have speculated that Aciphex actually causes these fractures in some people, but that remains an unproven theory.) And if you’re breast-feeding a baby, you might not want to take Aciphex as medical experts have not proven conclusively that Aciphex cannot cause harm to a baby through breast milk.
As with any drug, there are some side effects associated with Aciphex. Not every person who takes this medication will experience all or any of these side effects, but a short list of the possibilities would include nausea, headaches, diarrhea, inability to sleep and rashes. If you have a serious side effect such as tongue swelling, breathing difficulty, facial swelling or hives, then you should seek medical help immediately. Finally, if you are taking any other kind of medication, be sure to tell your doctor about it before you start taking Aciphex, as some drugs will react with Aciphex, resulting in adverse effects.