Rabeprazole sodium is a medication that suppresses secretion of gastric acid in the stomach, and is used to treat ulcers, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and symptoms such as heartburn. It is part of the proton pump inhibitor (PPI) family of drugs. While most patients do not experience any side effects, some minor or more serious side effects are possible, and this medication may be inappropriate for or need to be used cautiously by some patients.
Patients should take rabeprazole sodium for the entire time recommended by the doctor and in the dosage amounts prescribed, even if they start to feel better. Tablets should be swallowed whole, with or without food, rather than crushed or split. Rabeprazole sodium is sometimes combined with antibiotics in order to treat an infection caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori, which is at least partially responsible for many ulcers.
This medication is usually well tolerated, and side effects are unusual. Headache and diarrhea are the most common side effects of rabeprazole sodium. Rare but potentially serious side effects for which medical attention should be sought include unexplained pain or bleeding, serious skin irritation, weakness, numbness or tingling, fever or chills, and rapid heartbeat. Allergic reactions are very rare but possible, and patients who have hives, swelling, or trouble breathing should seek immediate medical attention. Long term, high dosage use of rabeprazole sodium may increase the risk of osteoporosis and osteoporosis-related fractures.
There are some other medications which may interact with rabeprazole sodium, and patients should be sure to tell the prescribing doctor about all medications taken, including over the counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements. In particular, the effects of warfarin, a blood thinner, may be increased when combined with PPIs, which could lead to increased bleeding. Since some medications need to be dissolved in stomach acid, the effects of proton pump inhibitors can decrease absorption of these medications.
People who have a history of liver or stomach problems need to make sure the prescribing doctor knows about this history. Women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing a baby should speak to a doctor about the appropriateness of rabeprazole sodium for them, since it is not known whether this medication can affect an unborn or breast-fed baby. It is possible that proton pump inhibitors can ease and mask the symptoms of an underlying condition, such as stomach cancer, and so patients should be thoroughly examined in order to rule out other causes for their symptoms.