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  5. Questions and Answers on Zegerid OTC
  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research | CDER

Questions and Answers on Zegerid OTC

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Zegerid OTC, an over-the-counter treatment for frequent heartburn. 

1. What is Zegerid OTC and what is it used to treat?
Zegerid OTC contains the proton pump inhibitor, omeprazole, and is used to treat frequent heartburn. Heartburn occurring 2 or more days per week, is called frequent heartburn.  Omeprazole works to reduce acid production which leads to heartburn symptoms. It works by temporarily stopping acid production.  Heartburn occurs when the stomach contents back up and out of the stomach into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach).
Zegerid OTC should be used to treat symptoms of frequent heartburn although sometimes a physician may recommend Zegerid OTC to treat more serious conditions. However, used as directed by a consumer without a physician’s advice , Zegerid OTC should only be used to treat frequent heartburn, and should not be used for example, for the relief of acid indigestion or heartburn associated with acid indigestion, for which other OTC drugs are commonly used.
It is very important that you carefully read and understand the Zegerid OTC label directions, warnings, and side effects. Most importantly, the label will tell you when you should seek medical attention instead of taking Zegerid OTC.

2. Does Zegerid OTC contain other active ingredients?
In addition to omeprazole, Zegerid OTC contains sodium bicarbonate. Stomach acid can destroy omeprazole and the sodium bicarbonate in Zegerid OTC serves only to allow for the absorption of omeprazole.  In this product, the sodium bicarbonate does not provide any other benefit for the treatment of heartburn. Other OTC omeprazole products use a capsule to protect the omeprazole from being degraded by stomach acid.  

3. Does Zegerid OTC work faster than other similar products?
No. Even though some advertising suggests that it works faster than other similar products to relieve symptoms, there have been no studies to support this.  It still takes Zegerid OTC 1- 4 days to begin working to treat frequent heartburn symptoms, similar to other OTC proton pump inhibitors. In fact, Zegerid OTC has not been shown to work faster or be more effective than either Prilosec OTC or Prevacid 24 Hour in treating frequent heartburn.

4. How is Zegerid OTC taken?
Zegerid OTC should be taken once a day (once every 24 hours) for 14 days before eating. You should not take it for more than 14 days or repeat a 14-day course more often than every 4 months unless directed by a doctor.

5. If Zegerid OTC takes a few days to take effect, can I take more each day to make it work faster?
No. Zegerid OTC is not intended for immediate relief of occasional heartburn. Zegerid OTC may take 1 to 4 days for full effect, although, as with the other OTC proton pump inhibitors, some people get complete relief of symptoms within 24 hours.

6. Who should NOT take Zegerid OTC?
Zegerid OTC is not the right medicine for you if you have occasional heartburn, one episode of heartburn a week or less, or if you want immediate relief of heartburn.

You should not replace your prescription medicines containing omeprazole with Zegerid OTC. Although the two products contain omeprazole, prescription omeprazole is for treating conditions such as inflammation of the esophagus (esophagitis), ulcers, and other medical conditions for which a doctor’s supervision is needed.

Stop taking Zegerid OTC and tell your doctor if you:

  • are not feeling better and your heartburn continues to worsen
  • need to take this product for more than 14 days
  • need to take more than 1 course of treatment every 4 months

Do not take Zegerid OTC if you have:

  • had an allergic reaction to Zegerid OTC in the past
  • trouble or pain swallowing food
  • vomiting with blood
  • bloody or black stools

7. How is Zegerid OTC different from the other OTC treatments for heartburn?
There are other OTC drug products used to provide immediate relief of heartburn symptoms. These include antacids and acid reducer drug products such as Pepcid AC (famotidine), Zantac (ranitidine), Tagamet HB (cimetidine), and Axid AR (nizatidine).  Zegerid OTC should not be confused with these products because it works differently and is not intended for immediate relief or for use immediately before eating a meal that may cause heartburn. Zegerid OTC is not for occasional use.  Zegerid OTC is similar to Prilosec OTC and Prevacid 24 Hour.

8. What if I have other questions about Zegerid OTC?
If you have further questions regarding Zegerid OTC or any medications, please contact the Center for Drug's Division of Drug Information at: 888-INFOFDA (888-463-6332), or email us at: druginfo@fda.hhs.gov

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