How long does it take for medications to kick in

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/17/2012 10:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Folks,
I'm new here and had a question for you all.

I was diagnosed with GERD in late November. My doctor prescribed 40 mg of omeprazole, which I take 30 mins before breakfast. I took the medication for four weeks and i was symptom and heartburn free. Then i went away for the holiday season and did not get to refill my prescription. I was fine over the break, but had a flare up over New Years. needless to say, i refilled and went back on the meds. it's been 2 weeks now and, my symptoms are improving but still exist. In your experience, how long does it the medication to kick in? i'm worried that if it doesn't stop, I'll get barretts or worse.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 1/17/2012 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry to hear of your difficulties, but welcome to the forum. There are a lot of folks here in different stages of diagnosis and management, and many threads you should find helpful.

It's not uncommon for one type of PPI to lose effectiveness. Many patients find that some don't work well at all, but another type will control symptoms much better. Be sure to bring this to your doctor's attention, and he can write you another prescription.

I'm surprised that you were told to take the omeprazole only four weeks? (Also, you don't need a prescription for omeprazole, so no need to stop taking it if you run out. Just go to CVS, Walgreens, or WalMart.) Most PPIs reach full effectiveness in 3-4 days. The unknown here is the condition inside your esophagus/throat. If you have erosions and/or sore spots, they can take a while to heal over. But two weeks should be long enough for you to feel much better. Again, check with your doctor about another prescription.

If you've been diagnosed with GERD, your doctor should have explained to you that your condition requires daily management. On again, off again medication will only make you suffer more.


New Member

Date Joined Jan 2012
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 1/17/2012 11:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Bruce,
Appreciate the feedback, your insight is very helpful. II'll follow up with my doctor and continue taking the medication so there are no further flareups. I may ask for a GI consult to get a second opinion.

New Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/22/2012 1:14 PM (GMT -7)   
The Omeprazole that you buy OTC is 20mg. If you are taking 40mg you will need 2 of the OTC that you purchase at the drug store.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 1/22/2012 2:00 PM (GMT -7)   
jamaica --

I don't want to get sucked further into that discussion. The PPI medication *IS*, in fact, stored. It binds to the proteins in the parietal cells. It doesn't stay in the blood. The blood is simply the transport mechanism.

You also assume that I am in favor of PPIs. I am in favor of them in the respect that they help millions of people manage their lives comfortably, without surgery. Yes there are side-effects. I can not take them, myself, because they cause massive headaches -- so much so that I can not function.

Even after TIF surgery, I am still in search of permanent relief.


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/22/2012 2:10 PM (GMT -7)   

In order to understand exactly how meds work you truly need to understand Pharmacokinetics and Metabolism.

Omeprazole Prilosec Delayed-Release Capsules contain an enteric-coated granule formulation of omeprazole (because omeprazole is acid-labile), so that absorption of omeprazole begins only after the granules leave the stomach. Absorption is rapid, with peak plasma levels of omeprazole occurring within 0.5 to 3.5 hours. Peak plasma concentrations of omeprazole and AUC are approximately proportional to doses up to 40 mg, but because of a saturable first-pass effect, a greater than linear response in peak plasma concentration and AUC occurs with doses greater than 40 mg. Absolute bioavailability  is about 30-40% at doses of 20-40 mg, due in large part to presystemic metabolism. In healthy subjects the plasma half-life is 0.5 to 1 hour, and the total body clearance is 500-600 mL/ min. Protein binding is approximately 95%.

The bioavailability of omeprazole increases slightly upon repeated administration of Prilosec Delayed-Release Capsules.

Antisecretory Activity After oral administration, the onset of the antisecretory effect of omeprazole occurs within one hour, with the maximum effect occurring within two hours. Inhibition of secretion is about 50% of maximum at 24 hours and the duration of inhibition lasts up to 72 hours.


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