Pantoprazole vs. Omeprazole: Which Is Better for Acid Reflux?

By Terez Malka, MD
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 20, 2022

Do you occasionally suffer from burning pain or discomfort in the lower chest area? It might be a case of acid reflux or heartburn, which is a very common condition. 

Your first instinct might be to take an antacid and go for a walk, but when that does not help, you’ll need something stronger to ease the pain.

Pantoprazole and omeprazole are two proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used to treat acid reflux and reduce stomach acid levels. 

In this article, we’ll explore what PPIs are and the differences between the two medications, Pantoprazole and omeprazole.

We’ll also talk about any main side effects you should be aware of, what kind of results to expect from each, and when to seek additional medical help.

What are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

Proton pump inhibitors are medications that reduce the amount of acid made by the cells that line your stomach.

They are used worldwide to treat acid reflux and are used by more than 15 million people in the United States annually. 

PPIs can be used to treat several conditions, including:

  • Heartburn
  • Gastric and intestinal ulcers
  • Helicobacter pylori infection (in combination with antibiotics
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

Pantoprazole

Pantoprazole, also known by the brand name Protonix, is prescribed to treat heartburn, GERD, esophagitis, and ulcers.

Pantoprazole tablets are delayed-release medicines and should not be split, crushed, or chewed.

Pantoprazole is also available as oral granules or in a liquid form.

Omeprazole

Omepraozole, also known as Prilosec, treats the same conditions as Pantoprazole.

It is available as delayed-release tablets or capsules, which should not be split, crushed, or chewed. Omeprazole is also available in a liquid form. 

Experiencing heartburn? Chat with a medical provider using K Health.

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Pantoprazole vs. Omeprazole

All PPIs function in the same way – by decreasing the activity of the acid-producing proton pump in the stomach.

Studies show that both drugs are effective in treating acid reflux and related conditions after 8 weeks of use.
Both medications are recommended for short-term use in most cases(up to 8 weeks). Take them for longer only as advised by your medical provider.

However, there are slight differences in drug interactions and side effects.

PantoprazoleOmeprazole
Dosage40 mg once daily20 mg once daily
AvailabilityPrescription-onlyPrescription and OTC
Form of medication availableOral tablet, delayed-releaseOral suspension IV injection/infusionOral tablet, delayed-releaseOral capsule, delayed-releaseOral suspension IV injection/infusion
WarningLimit alcohol and other drug use when on medicationLimit alcohol and other drug use when on medication

Side effects

Some people experience severe side effects from taking PPIs, but minor side effects are more common. Some potential side effects include:

In rare cases, PPI use has been linked with more serious conditions such as pneumonia, kidney failure, and osteoporosis.

This is why prolonged use is not recommended unless specifically prescribed by your healthcare provider. 

Discuss your risks of more severe side effects or complications with your healthcare provider.

If you experience severe side effects, seek medical attention immediately.

Cost

The pricing of each will differ from pharmacy to pharmacy and is affected by your dose and insurance provider. 

Some insurance plans may not cover omeprazole since it is available over the counter, but you will need to confirm this with your provider. 

How to Choose Between Pantoprazole and Omeprazole

Since omeprazole is available over the counter, many people suffering from heartburn, GERD, or indigestion may start with this medication. 

Your healthcare provider can help you figure out the best medication for you based on your symptoms, medical history, and other medications. 

Experiencing heartburn? Chat with a medical provider using K Health.

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When to Seek Medical Attention 

If your acid reflux or heartburn gets worse or shows no sign of improvement even after treatment with PPI, set up an appointment with your primary care provider. 

Seek emergency care if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or signs of an allergic reaction, whether or not they relate to acid reflux.

How K Health Can Help

Manage acid reflux and get omeprazole online using K Health for just $29 per month.

Just three easy steps:

  1. Answer a few simple questions.
  2. Meet your provider.
  3. Get the care you need.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are pantoprazole and omeprazole the same thing?
Pantoprazole and omeprazole are in the same family of medications, called PPIs. Both are used to treat symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, GERD, and ulcers. However, there are minor differences between the two medications, and they have slightly different uses. A healthcare professional can help you figure out which is the best option for you.
Is 20mg of omeprazole equal to 40mg of pantaprazole?
20mg of omeprazole and 40mg of pantoprazole are comparable doses and work equally effectively in most cases. However, it is important to remember that they are two different medications. You should only switch between them under the advice of a medical provider.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Terez Malka, MD

Dr. Terez Malka is a board-certified pediatrician and emergency medicine physician.