Pantoprazole is a prescription drug made to reduce the amount of stomach acid that your body makes. It is mostly taken in the morning and not at night. You might have heard your doctor tell you to specifically take it first thing in the morning.
You might be wondering why. Why can’t I take it maybe in the afternoon, evening, or even at nighttime? There is a reason why this drug is usually taken first thing in the morning.
In this article, you will get to know what pantoprazole is, what it does and why it is taken first thing in the morning.
What is pantoprazole
On certain occasions, it is taken to treat a rare condition caused by a tumor in the pancreas or gut called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. It comes in three forms: an oral tablet, an oral liquid suspension, and an intravenous (IV) form which is injected into your veins.
It is a drug used to reduce the amount of acid that your stomach produces. It is used to treat heartburn, erosive oesophagitis (damage to the oesophagus), acid reflux, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD or GERD), stomach ulcers, etc.
Why is pantoprazole used?
It is used to reduce the amount of stomach acid produced by your body and is hence used in the treatment of peptic ulcers. It is also used to treat severe signs and symptoms caused by excess acid produced by the stomach as a result of a tumour in the pancreas or gut called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
How does pantoprazole work?
This drug belongs to a group of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. It works by shutting off the acid-pumping cells located in your stomach. It decreases the amount of stomach acid and helps to reduce painful symptoms related to conditions such as GERD.
Side effects of pantoprazole
Below are some side effects of this drug
- stomach pain
- nausea or vomiting
- joint pain
The side effects listed above are all mild cases. Below are some serious side effects of pantoprazole
- abnormal or fast heart rate
- muscle weakness
- spasms of your hands and feet
- cramps or muscle aches
- spasm of your voice box
Who can and cannot take pantoprazole?
Adults and children aged 12 years and over can take pantoprazole. It is not suitable for some people who find themselves in situations such as
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to pantoprazole or any other medicine
- If you have liver problems
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- If you are due to have an endoscopy
Why take pantoprazole first thing in the morning
Here are some of the reasons why it is best to take pantoprazole in the morning.
Reduced Risk of Acid Reflux
Taking pantoprazole first thing in the morning can also help to reduce the risk of acid reflux symptoms occurring during the day, as the production of stomach acid is highest in the morning.
Improved absorption of pantoprazole
When you wake up, you’ve already had at least 6–8 hours of fasting (during your sleep). Fasting is important to increase the effects of pantoprazole. The longer you fast, the more stomach acid you accumulate. Having enough stomach acid in your stomach helps activate pantoprazole.
Also, taking pantoprazole on an empty stomach allows it to be absorbed more effectively into the body. If you take pantoprazole with food, it may not be as effective at reducing acid production.
Control over post-meal acid secretion
Food is the most potent stomach-acid inducer because the most considerable amounts of stomach acid are released during and immediately after eating. Taking pantoprazole first thing in the morning provides you with better control of food-induced acid secretion.
What happens when I take pantoprazole in the night?
Taking pantoprazole at night or before dinner is not recommended. Taking this drug at night is not as effective as taking it in the morning.
How to take pantoprazole
It is best to take it an hour before a meal. Make sure to swallow the tablets whole with a drink or water.
How long should you take it
If you purchase pantoprazole from a pharmacy, you can usually take it for up to 2 weeks.
After 2 weeks, if your symptoms have improved, you can take it for another 2 weeks. Also, if your symptoms have not improved or they are worse, speak to a doctor before taking any more pantoprazole.
Do not take pantoprazole for more than 4 weeks without speaking to your doctor first. If your symptoms have not improved, you may need some tests to find out what’s causing them.
What happens if I skip or miss a dose?
Make sure to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if your next dose is due in less than 12 hours, skip the missed dose and take the next one at the usual time.
What happens if I take too much pantoprazole?
It is very unlikely that this drug will cause any problems if taken in excess. However, it is still advisable that you call your doctor to let him or her know that you have taken too much pantoprazole. Your doctor will know what to do.
What conditions are treated with pantoprazole?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Also known as GERD or heartburn, it is a condition in which the esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle that seals off the oesophagus from the stomach, does not work properly and allows stomach acid and food to come back up into the oesophagus. Symptoms of GERD include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat
- Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
- Sharp or burning pain behind the breast bone
- Tightness in the chest or upper abdomen
- Coughing, wheezing
- Need to clear your throat
This is a rare condition that causes tumours to form in the pancreas or upper small intestines. Tumours caused by Zollinger-Ellison secrete large amounts of a hormone called gastrin, which stimulates the overproduction of stomach acid. Symptoms associated with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome include:
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- Bleeding in the digestive tract
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Burning, aching, or discomfort in the upper abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
The takeaway from this article
Pantoprazole works best in the morning because when you wake up, you already have at least 6-8 hours of fasting, that is, during your sleep. This increases the effectiveness of the medicine. Taking it during night time will not be as effective as taking it in the morning.