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Pronounced: ASS-ih-fex
Generic name: Rabeprazole sodium

Why is this drug prescribed: AcipHex blocks acid production in the stomach. It is prescribed for the short-term (4 to 8 weeks) treatment of sores and inflammation in the upper digestive canal (esophagus). This condition, known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus over a prolonged period of time. Because GERD can be chronic, your doctor may continue to prescribe AcipHex to prevent a relapse after your initial course of treatment and to relieve symptoms of GERD such as heartburn. AcipHex can also be prescribed for the short-term (up to 4 weeks) treatment of duodenal ulcers (ulcers that form just outside the stomach at the top of the small intestine), and for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a disease which causes the stomach to produce too much acid. The drug is classified as a "proton pump inhibitor." It works by blocking a specific enzyme essential to the production of stomach acid. It begins reducing acid within an hour of administration.

Most important fact about this drug: AcipHex will work even if your symptoms are caused by a serious condition such as stomach cancer. For that reason, doctors are warned to rule out cancer whenever prescribing this drug.

How should you take this medication: Take AcipHex once a day. Swallow the tablet whole; it should not be crushed, chewed, or split. You can continue taking antacids during AcipHex therapy. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once. --Storage information... AcipHex should be stored at room temperature and protected from moisture.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking AcipHex. Headache is the most common side effect of AcipHex, striking two people out of 100. Less common side effects may include: Abdominal pain, abnormal dreams, abnormal stools, abnormal vision, allergic reaction, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, belching, bladder inflammation, bone pain, breakthrough menstrual bleeding, bruising, bursitis, cataract, chest pain, chills, constipation, convulsion, decreased sex drive, dehydration, depression, diarrhea, difficult breathing, difficult periods, dizziness, dry eyes, dry mouth, ear infection, fainting, fatigue, fever, fluid retention, frequent urination, gallbladder disease, gas, glaucoma, gout, gum inflammation, hair loss, heart attack, hiccup, high blood pressure, hives, hyperventilation, increased appetite, inflammation of the esophagus, inflammation of the pancreas, insomnia, intestinal inflammation, irregular heartbeat, itching, joint disease, kidney stone, laryngitis, leg cramps, loss of appetite, lymph node disease, migraine, mouth inflammation, mouth sores, muscle pain, nausea, nerve pain, nervous system disorder, nervousness, nosebleed, overactive thyroid, painful urination, pins and needles sensation, pounding heartbeat, rash, rectal bleeding or inflammation, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to sunlight, sleepiness, slowed or racing heartbeat, stiff neck, stiffness, stomach upset or inflammation, sweating, tongue inflammation, tremor, underactive thyroid, vertigo, vomiting, weakness, weight gain or loss Rare side effects may include: Abdominal swelling, absence of breathing, agitation, amnesia, bile duct inflammation, blood clot, blood in the urine, blood vessel enlargement, bloody diarrhea, breast enlargement, confusion, deafness, dry skin, eye pain, fluid retention of the face, hangover effect, heavy periods, hyperactivity, impotence, inflammation of the small intestine, intestinal bleeding, irregular heartbeat, liver disorders, nervous disorders, salivary gland enlargement, shingles, skin discoloration or scaling, slowed breathing, stomach bleeding, testicular inflammation, thirst, twitching, urinary incontinence, vaginal discharge, vein inflammation, visual disturbance

Why should this drug not be prescribed: If AcipHex gives you an allergic reaction, you will not be able to use it.

Special warnings about this medication: If you have stomach ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacteria, AcipHex could make the condition slightly worse. The doctor may order a test for H. pylori before prescribing this drug. AcipHex has not been tested in children under 18 years of age.

Possible food and drug interactions when taking this medication: If AcipHex is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increase, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining AcipHex with the following: Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune) Digoxin (Lanoxin) Ketoconazole (Nizoral) Warfarin (Coumadin)

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of AcipHex during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. The drug may appear in breast milk and should not be taken while you're breastfeeding.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) The usual dose is 20 milligrams once a day for 4 to 8 weeks. For patients who have not healed after 8 weeks, the doctor may prescribe an additional 8-week course of AcipHex therapy. To Relieve Symptoms or Prevent a Relapse of GERD The usual dose is 20 milligrams once a day. Duodenal Ulcer The usual dose is 20 milligrams taken once daily after the morning meal for a period of up to 4 weeks. Some people may require an additional 4 weeks of treatment. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome The usual starting dose is 60 milligrams once a day, although your doctor may adjust the dose based on your individual need. Doses of up to 100 milligrams once a day or 60 milligrams twice a day are sometimes prescribed.

Overdosage: Little is known about AcipHex overdose. However, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.

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