Sometimes, lansoprazole is taken for a rare illness caused by a tumour in the pancreas or gut called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Lansoprazole is available only on prescription. It comes as capsules, tablets and as a liquid that you swallow (made to order).
- It's usual to take lansoprazole once a day in the morning.
- For severe illness, you can take it twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.
- Common side effects include headache, diarrhoea and stomach pain. These tend to be mild and go away when you stop taking the medicine.
- If you're self-treating with lansoprazole, don't take it for longer than 2 weeks without checking with a doctor.
- Lansoprazole is called by the brand name Zoton FasTabs.
Who can and can't take lansoprazole
Lansoprazole can be taken by adults. It can also be taken by children when prescribed by a doctor.
Some lansoprazole capsules contain gelatin so they are not suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Some lansoprazole capsules contain small amounts of lactose, so they may be unsuitable for people with a digestive problem called lactose intolerance.
Lansoprazole isn't suitable for some people.
To make sure lansoprazole is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- had an allergic reaction to lansoprazole or any other medicines in the past
- liver problems
Lansoprazole is generally not recommended in pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
How and when to take it
It's usual to take lansoprazole once a day - first thing in the morning.
If you take lansoprazole twice a day, take one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening.
Lansoprazole works best if you take it 30 minutes before a meal or snack. That's because food slows down lansoprazole getting into your system.
How much will I take?
The usual dose to treat:
- indigestion is 15mg to 30mg a day
- acid reflux disease is 15mg to 30mg a day
- stomach ulcers is 15mg to 30mg a day
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is 60mg a day - this can increase to 120mg a day depending on how well it works for you
Doses are usually lower for children, elderly people and people with liver problems.
Tablets and capsules
Swallow tablets and capsules whole with a glass of water or juice.
If you have problems swallowing capsules, you can open lansoprazole capsules and mix the granules inside with a little water or fruit juice, or sprinkle them onto soft food, such as yogurt or apple puree, to help you swallow them.
Lansoprazole also comes as a dispersible tablet that melts in your mouth.
Each tablet or capsule contains 15mg or 30mg of lansoprazole.
Liquid lansoprazole can be prescribed and made to order for children and people who cannot swallow capsules or tablets. It will come with a syringe or spoon to help you take the right amount. If you don't have a syringe or spoon, ask your pharmacist for one.
Will my dose go up or down?
Sometimes your doctor will increase your dose of lansoprazole if it isn't working well enough.
Depending on the reason you take lansoprazole, you may take a higher dose to begin with, usually for a month or two. After this, your doctor may recommend that you take a lower dose.
How long will I take it for?
Depending on your illness, you may only take it for a few weeks or months. Sometimes you might need to take it for longer, even many years.
Some people don't need to take lansoprazole every day and take it only when they have symptoms. Once you feel better (often after a few days or weeks), you can stop taking it. Taking lansoprazole in this way is not suitable for everyone. Discuss with your doctor what is best for you.
What if I forget to take it?
If you usually take it:
- once a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is within 12 hours of your next dose in which case skip the missed dose
- twice a day, take the missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is within 4 hours of your next dose in which case skip the missed dose
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Accidentally taking too much lansoprazole may cause side effects such as:
- flushed skin
- feeling sweaty
- a fast heartbeat
- feeling sleepy
- blurred vision
- feeling confused or agitated.
If you need to go to hospital, take the lansoprazole packet or leaflet inside it plus any remaining medicine with you.
Most people who take lansoprazole do not have any side effects. If you do get a side effect, it is usually mild and will go away when you stop taking lansoprazole.
Common side effects
These common side effects may happen in more than 1 in 100 people. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don’t go away:
- stomach pain
- feeling sick or vomiting
- itchy skin rashes
- feeling dizzy or tired
- dry or sore mouth or throat
Lansoprazole may also make you feel depressed. It may also make your feet or ankles swell.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people.
Tell a doctor straight away if you have:
- joint pain along with a red skin rash, especially in parts of your body exposed to the sun, such as your arms, cheeks and nose - these can be signs of a rare condition called subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus that can happen weeks or even years after taking lansoprazole
- stomach pain that seems to be getting worse - this can be a sign of an inflamed liver or pancreas
- reddening, blisters and peeling of the skin, there may also be severe blisters and bleeding in the lips, eyes, mouth, nose and genitals - these can be signs of Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis
- diarrhoea more than 5 times a day or that doesn't seem to be getting better - this can be a sign of ulcerative colitis
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic reaction to lansoprazole.
A serious allergic reaction is an emergency. Contact a doctor straight away if you think you or someone around you is having a serious allergic reaction.
The warning signs of a serious allergic reaction are:
- getting a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- tightness in the chest or throat
- having trouble breathing or talking
- swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat
These are not all the side effects of lansoprazole. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
How to cope with side effects
What to do about:
- diarrhoea and vomiting - drink plenty of water by having small, frequent sips. It may also help to take oral rehydration solutions which you can buy from a pharmacy or supermarket to prevent dehydration. Don't take any other medicines to treat diarrhoea or vomiting without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
- constipation - eat more high-fibre foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals, and drink plenty of water. Try to exercise more regularly, for example, by going for a daily walk or run.
- wind - steer clear of foods that cause wind like pulses, lentils, beans and onions. It might also help to eat smaller and more frequent meals, eat and drink slowly, and exercise regularly. Some pharmacy remedies help wind, such as charcoal tablets or simethicone.
- feeling sick - it may help if you don't eat rich or spicy food while you're taking lansoprazole.
- dry mouth - chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Lansoprazole isn't usually recommended during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
If you're pregnant, it's always better to try to treat your indigestion without taking a medicine.
Your doctor or midwife will first advise that you try to ease your symptoms by eating smaller meals more often, not eating fatty and spicy foods, and raising the head of your bed a little.
If lifestyle changes don't work, you may be recommended a medicine to help ease your symptoms.
A medicine called omeprazole, which is similar to lansoprazole, is safe in pregnancy.
Lansoprazole and breastfeeding
Lansoprazole may get into breast milk, but it's not known whether it harms the baby.
Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of taking this medicine while you're breastfeeding.
A similar medicine called omeprazole, which is similar to lansoprazole, is safe to take while breastfeeding.
Tell your doctor if you're trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you're breastfeeding.
Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and lansoprazole can interfere with each other and make it more likely that you will have side effects.
Tell your doctor if you're taking these medicines before your start lansoprazole treatment:
- digoxin (a heart medicine)
- anti-fungal medicines such as itraconazole, ketoconazole or posaconazole
- methotrexate (treats psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- HIV medicines
- phenytoin (an anti-epilepsy medicine)
- rifampicin (an antibiotic)
- blood thinning medicines, such as clopidogrel
- fluvoxamine (an antidepressant)
Mixing lansoprazole with herbal remedies and supplements
Don't take the herbal remedy for depression, St John's wort, at the same time as lansoprazole. St John's wort may stop lansoprazole working as well as it should.
How does lansoprazole work?
When will I feel better?
Can I take paracetamol with it?
Are there similar medicines?
Are there other indigestion remedies?
Can I take lansoprazole with an antacid?
Is it safe to take lansoprazole for a long time?
How do I come off lansoprazole?
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Can I drink alcohol?
Can lifestyle advice help?