Pantoprazole treats indigestion and heartburn by reducing acid in your stomach.
It is also used to treat stomach ulcers and a rare illness called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
You need a prescription for full strength pantoprazole. A low strength version is available at pharmacies.
Pantoprazole comes as capsules, tablets and as a liquid.
Brand names include:
- Controloc Control
- Pantoloc Control
- Pantozol Control
You can buy pantoprazole 20mg tablets from pharmacies. If you don't get any relief from your symptoms after 2 weeks, talk to your GP.
How pantoprazole works
Pantoprazole is a 'proton pump inhibitor' medicine that reduces acid in your stomach.
Proton pumps are tiny substances that make acid to digest food. Pantoprazole temporarily stops these pumps working.
Get emergency help
You might need medical help if you get serious side effects, have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or take too much.
Serious side effects
Urgent advice: Tell your GP straight away if you:
- get a rash on parts of your body exposed to the sun
- are losing skin and bleeding around your eyes, nose, mouth or genitals
- lose a lot of weight without trying
- feel sick, weak or generally unwell
- have yellow skin, dark pee and tiredness
- have skin that's red, blistering or peeling
- have pain when you pee, lower back pain, swollen ankles, rash or fever
- have lower back or joint pain
Serious allergic reaction
It's rare that pantoprazole causes a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Emergency action required: Call 112 or 999 or go to an emergency department (ED) if you:
- get a rash that's itchy, red, swollen or blistered
- are wheezing
- get tightness in your chest or throat
- have trouble breathing or talking
- have swelling in your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat
If you take too much
Emergency action required: Call your GP or go to an emergency department (ED) if you have any of these symptoms:
- flushed skin
- feel sweaty
- a fast heartbeat
- feel sleepy
- blurred vision
- feel confused or agitated
Check if you can take pantoprazole
Pantoprazole can be taken by most adults. Children should only take it on prescription.
It may not be suitable if you have:
- had an allergic reaction to any medicines
- liver problems
- lactose intolerance
- been treated for heartburn or indigestion continuously for 4 or more weeks
- taken non-prescription medicines for indigestion on a daily basis
- a stomach ulcer or recent stomach surgery
- taken certain medicines for HIV
Pregnancy and pantoprazole
Pantoprazole is not recommended during pregnancy as there is no evidence it's safe.
If you're pregnant it's better to treat your symptoms without taking a medicine like pantoprazole.
Your GP or midwife may suggest eating smaller meals and avoiding fatty and spicy food. They may also suggest raising the top end of your bed so that your chest and head are above your waist when sleeping.
Your doctor may recommend a different medicine to help with ingestion or excess stomach acid if you are pregnant.
Breastfeeding and pantoprazole
Do not use pantoprazole if you're breastfeeding unless your GP tells you to. It is not known if pantoprazole gets into breast milk or if it can harm your baby.
Your GP might recommend a similar medicine called omeprazole if you are breastfeeding.
When you start taking pantoprazole
You should always take this medicine exactly how your doctor or pharmacist has described.
You should start to feel better within 2 to 3 days.
It may take up to 4 weeks for pantoprazole to work properly. You may still have symptoms during this time.
Do not take this medicine for more than 4 weeks without consulting a doctor.
The dose of your medicine depends on your condition. Your GP may increase or decrease your dose.
Depending on your illness, you may only take it for a few weeks or months. Some people need to take it for longer, even for many years.
Do not take pantoprazole for longer than 2 weeks without checking with your GP.
How and when to take it
Always take pantoprazole exactly as your GP or pharmacist has told you. Follow the advice on the label. If you're unsure, ask a GP or pharmacist.
It's usual to take it once a day in the morning.
If you take pantoprazole 2 times a day, take 1 dose in the morning and 1 dose in the evening.
It's best to take it 1 hour before a meal. Swallow tablets whole with water or juice.
If you forget to take it
If you take pantoprazole once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it's less than 12 hours until your next dose. In that case skip the missed dose.
If you take it twice a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it's less than 4 hours until your next dose. In that case skip the missed dose.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
Most people who take pantoprazole do not have any side effects.
If you do they are usually mild and go away when you stop taking it.
Talk to your GP or pharmacist if side effects get worse or do not go away after a few days.
Common side effects may include:
- feeling sick or vomiting
- stomach pain or wind
See the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine for a full list of side effects.
Non-urgent advice: Find your patient information leaflet
Your patient information leaflet is the leaflet that comes with your medicine. You can find a digital version of the leaflet online.
Report side effects
You can report any suspected side effects to the the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA): report an issue - hrpa.ie
If pantoprazole does not work or agree with you, your GP may suggest you try another proton pump inhibitor.
Omeprazole and esomeprazole are similar medicines that are also available directly from pharmacies.
Long term use
Levels of magnesium in your blood may fall if you take pantoprazole longer than 3 months.
This can make you feel tired, confused, dizzy and cause muscle twitches and an irregular heartbeat.
Taking pantoprazole for more than 1 year can increase your chances of certain side effects, including:
- bone fractures, especially if you have osteoporosis
- gut infections
- vitamin B12 deficiency
If you get any of these symptoms, tell your GP.
If you've taken pantoprazole for a long time, talk to your GP before you stop.
Taking pantoprazole with other medicines
Tell your GP or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines before you take pantoprazole.
Always tell your GP or pharmacist that you are on pantoprazole before taking new medicines.
Check if you're already taking:
- digoxin (a heart medicine)
- anti-fungals such as itraconazole, ketoconazole or posaconazole
- other proton pump inhibitors or other medicines that limit the amount of acid in your stomach
- methotrexate (for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- HIV medicines
- rifampicin (an antibiotic)
- blood thinners such as clopidogrel
Herbal remedies and supplements
St. John's Wort may stop pantoprazole working as well as it should.
Tell your pharmacist or GP if you're taking herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
Other heartburn medicines
You can take pantoprazole with an antacid, for example Gaviscon.
Take it 2 hours before or after your dose of pantoprazole.
It's safe to take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen at the same time as pantoprazole.
Talk to your GP or pharmacist or before using ibuprofen as it can upset your stomach.
Food and drink
You can eat and drink normally while taking pantoprazole, but it's best to take it an hour before a meal.
Avoid foods that make your indigestion worse, such as spicy and fatty foods.
You should also try to limit acidic foods, caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
If you have symptoms at night, try not to eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed.
This content was fact checked by a pharmacist, a GP, the National Medication Safety Programme (Safermeds) and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).