Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects about 20% of people in the United States.
GERD is a chronic, painful digestive condition that leads to health complications over time.
In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these medications, as well as common side effects, drug interactions, and important warnings to be aware of.
Prevacid vs Prilosec
Prevacid and Prilosec are both proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
They work to reduce symptoms of GERD and acid reflux by blocking how much acid the stomach produces.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved these medications for the same uses:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
- Systemic mastocytosis
- Duodenal and gastric ulcers
Prevacid and Prilosec have many similarities.
- Drug class: Prevacid and Prilosec are proton pump inhibitors. They work similarly to decrease acid in the stomach.
- Conditions treated: Both are approved for treating the same conditions, as above.
- Time to take effect: Prevacid takes effect around 1-3 hours after it is taken, with rapid absorption after the medicine leaves the stomach. Prilosec is rapidly absorbed as well. Prilosec may take 1-4 days before the full effect is achieved, and Prevacid may take up to 4 days.
- Length of treatment: Prevacid is typically prescribed or recommended for 10 days or up to 12 weeks, although some patients may prescribed longer courses. Prilosec is typically prescribed or recommended for 10 days or up to eight weeks, although it may be used longer in some cases.
Although Prevacid and Prilosec are similar in many ways, they have a few differences:
- Dosages: Follow dosing instructions for the medication you are taking. Prevacid is typically 15-30 milligrams (mg), one or two times per day. Prilosec is typically 20-40 mg, one or two times per day.
- Forms: Prilosec is available as a pill or a powder. Prevacid is available as an extended-release tablet, a dissolving tablet, and a liquid.
Common Side Effects
Prevacid and Prilosec can each cause some side effects, as listed below.
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Acid regurgitation
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Rash or dry skin
- Back pain
- Upper respiratory tract infections
Prevacid and Prilosec also both have potential drug interactions, as noted below.
- Calcium carbonate
- Iron salts
- Red yeast rice
- St. John’s wort
- Loop/thiazide diuretics
- H2 blockers or other antacid medications
- Calcium carbonate
- Vitamin B12
- Iron salts
- St. John’s wort
Is Prevacid or Prilosec More Effective?
Prevacid and Prilosec are equally effective for the conditions they are approved to treat.
A double-blind study of 3,510 patients compared the two drugs’ effectiveness for heartburn relief.
Prevacid was slightly more effective at relieving severe heartburn symptoms, but at the end of eight weeks, both medications performed the same.
Additionally, a meta-analysis of different PPIs found that all are comparable, and taking the right dose matters more than which medication you take for the effectiveness of a treatment.
A healthcare provider can help determine which medication might work best for your health and medical needs.
Because Prevacid and Prilosec are in the same drug class, they have similar warnings.
Taking either one for a prolonged period of time can result in potentially serious health conditions, including:
- Clostridium difficile diarrhea
- Bone fracture
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Acute interstitial nephritis (a serious kidney condition)
- Serious magnesium deficiency
Both drugs may increase the risk of false-positive results when testing for neuroendocrine tumors.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak with their healthcare provider before taking Prevacid or Prilosec.
People who have osteoporosis should not take these drugs, as they increase the risk of serious bone fractures.
How K Health Can Help
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Frequently Asked Questions
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.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Definition and facts for GER and GERD. (2020).
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI). (2022).
Questions and answers on Prilosec OTC (omeprazole). (2015).
Prevacid (lansoprazole). (2012).
Comparing lansoprazole and omeprazole in onset of heartburn relief: results of a randomized, controlled trial in erosive esophagitis patients. (2001).
Current Trends in the Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. (2018).
Meta-analysis: comparing the efficacy of proton pump inhibitors in short-term use. (2003).