What Is Omeprazole DR?

Kathy Heydasch

Omeprazole DR is a delayed-release formula of the drug omeprazole which is used to treat problems with the stomach and esophageal tract. It is available over the counter in many countries including the US, and it is one of the most internationally-prescribed drugs in the world. Side effects are minimal compared to the suffering that one endures with problems of the stomach and esophageal tract.

Omeprazole DR is commonly used to treat peptic ulcer disease.
Omeprazole DR is commonly used to treat peptic ulcer disease.

The group of drugs of which includes omeprazole DR is called protein pump inhibitors, or PPIs. These drugs reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach, thereby minimizing the problems that can occur with excess stomach acid. It can also be paired with antibiotics to eradicate a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, which causes a majority of gastric ulcers.

Disorders treated with omeprazole DR mostly include reflux diseases like gastroesophageal reflux and laryngopharyngeal reflux. With gastroesophageal reflux disease, acids from the stomach enter the esophagus and cause painful conditions like heartburn, trouble swallowing and even regurgitation. Laryngopharyngeal reflux causes problems with the larynx and respiratory system, but is often called silent reflux because it does not necessarily cause heartburn symptoms.

Omeprazole DR is also used to treat dyspepsia and peptic ulcer disease. Dyspepsia is a common medical condition characterized by impaired digestion. There may be recurring pain in the abdomen, and a sufferer might get a feeling of fullness without eating much. Peptic ulcer disease is characterized by the presence of peptic ulcers, which are erosions in the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. It is a painful, but treatable disorder.

Although omeprazole DR is available in generic and over-the-counter forms today, it was first released by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca in 1989 as the brand name Losec®. In 1990, the US Food and Drug Administration ordered a change of the name to avoid confusion with another drug, a diuretic called Lasix®. In 2003, the drug became available over the counter.

The absorption of normal omeprazole takes about three to six hours and occurs in the small intestine. Patients are advised to fast for 60 minutes before taking a pill and to wait another 30 minutes before eating. It is not to be used as immediate relief for heartburn symptoms. Omeprazole DR is available in 10-, 20-, and 40-mg capsules and is a delayed-release formula of the drug.

It is unclear at this time, but studies suggest that omeprazole might increase the chances of bone fractures. This would happen only after prolonged use or the use of the drug at very high doses for an extended period of time. People aged 50 and older have a higher risk of this happening, but studies do not definitively point to omeprazole as the cause.

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