The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea of what to expect from each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
If you are diagnosed with a peptic ulcer caused by
your doctor will use a combination of medications. You may be given 1-2 types of antibiotics, as well as medications that help control your stomach acid production. You might be advised to use antacids to help soothe uncomfortable symptoms.
During treatment, you will likely need to
stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Once the ulcer is healed, you and your doctor will evaluate any future NSAID use.
Examples of over-the-counter medications include:
Antacids GavisconDi-GelMylantaMaalox Advanced Regular StrengthTums
Common names include: TetracyclineMetronidazoleAmoxicillinClarithromycinLevofloxacin
Antibiotics can clear the bacterial infection. Take all of the medication as prescribed, even when you start to feel better.
Tetracycline: Always take with a full glass of water.Don’t take tetracycline within 2 hours of drinking a milk product or using an antacid.Be sure your doctor knows if there’s any chance you may be pregnant. Tetracycline can permanently stain the baby’s developing teeth.Tetracycline may make you very sensitive to sunlight. Protect your skin appropriately.
Metronidazole: Take with food to avoid stomach upset.Don’t drink alcohol while you’re using this medication.Your urine may appear darker and you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth while you’re taking metronidazole.Some people feel lightheaded when they first start taking metronidazole. You should avoid driving, operating dangerous machinery, and participating in hazardous activities until you know how this drug will affect you.
Amoxicillin: You can take this medication on either a full or an empty stomach.If you are taking birth control pills, use an additional or backup form of contraception, such as a condom.
Contact your doctor if you develop
while taking this medication.
Clarithromycin: Have your doctor and pharmacist check to make sure you’re not taking any other drugs that could interact with clarithromycin.
Any type of antibiotic can cause an allergic reaction. Discontinue the drug and contact your doctor immediately if you notice: A new skin rashHives or welts on your skinPuffiness of the face or around your eyesDifficulty breathing
Common names include: CimetidineRanitidineFamotidineNizatidine
H-2 blockers help decrease acid production in the stomach. They may be given to help with
heartburn, indigestion, ulcers, or other forms of excess acidity in the stomach. Some of these drugs have potential drug interactions with other medications, so consult your doctor and pharmacist.
Possible side effects include: LightheadednessConfusion (cimetidine, especially in the elderly)HeadacheDiarrhea
Common names include: OmeprazoleLansoprazolePantoprazoleRabeprazoleEsomeprazole
Proton pump inhibitors decrease acid production in the stomach. They may be given to help with heartburn, indigestion, and difficulty swallowing.
Possible side effects include: LightheadednessHeadacheDiarrheaIncreased risk of
certain fractures in people who take proton pump inhibitors in high doses or for longer than a year
Sucralfate coats your stomach and the ulcer. It helps protect it from further damage by stomach acid. This can help speed healing. It’s also useful to protect people taking NSAIDs against the development of peptic ulcers.
Do not take sucralfate within 30 minutes before or after taking antacids.
Misoprostol protects the stomach lining and decreases acid production. This helps peptic ulcers heal more quickly. It’s also useful to protect people taking NSAIDs against the development of peptic ulcers.
Do not take misoprostol if you are pregnant. It can cause a
Some people develop nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea while using this medication. These side effects usually go away within a few days. However, if they don’t go away or if they seem severe, contact your doctor.
Common brand names include: GavisconDi-GelMylantaMaalox Advanced Regular StrengthTums
Antacids work to neutralize acidity in the stomach. They’re given to improve symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
Possible side effects include: DiarrheaConstipation
You will likely need to stop taking NSAIDs to allow the ulcers to heal. After healing is complete, your doctor may evaluate your use of NSAIDs during follow-up visits. If you need NSAIDs in the future, your doctor may recommend a substitute, or prescribe proton pump inhibitors or H-2 blockers to protect your stomach.
If you are taking medications, follow these general guidelines: Take the medication as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule. Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medication.Plan ahead for refills if you need them.Do not share your prescription medication with anyone.Medications can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor if you are taking more than one medication, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
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http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/peptic-ulcer/Pages/overview.aspx. Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.
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American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at:
http://www.gastro.org/info_for_patients/2013/6/6/understanding-peptic-ulcer-disease. Accessed April 29, 2013.
3/1/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Maalox Total Relief and Maalox liquid products: medication use errors. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm200672.htm. Accessed April 29, 2013.
5/28/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: FDA: possible fracture risk with high-dose, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at:
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm213377.htm. Updated April 23, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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