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Is Carafate Used for Acid Reflux?

By Esther Kinuthia RN BSN BA ; Updated August 14, 2017

According to the National institutes of Health, Carafate, or generic sucralfate, is an anti-ulcer medication used to treat stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers. Carafate works by forming a protective coating on ulcer sites and protecting them from acid and enzymes so that healing can occur. Carafate might be used to treat esophageal ulcers caused by acid reflux disease.

Esophageal Ulcers.

Esophageal ulcers are sores on the lining of the esophagus that might be caused by acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter muscles open spontaneously and acid flows back into the esophagus, causing injury to the esophageal lining.

Carafate Administration

According to Drugs.com, Carafate is available as a tablet or liquid and is usually taken four times a day. Carafate should be taken one hour before meals or two hours after meals and at bedtime. Patients should avoid taking Carafate together with other medications because Carafate impairs the absorption of other medications. Carafate should be taken for the full prescribed length of treatment.

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Contraindications

Drugs.com states that patient’s allergic to Carafate or any ingredients in Carafate should avoid the drug. Carafate contains aluminum and should not be used in patients with kidney failure. It also should not be taken together with aluminum containing antacids because aluminum toxicity might occur, which can lead to kidney failure.

Precautions

According to Drugs.com, Carafate should be used with caution in pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as in patients with kidney problems, blockage of the intestines or those with swallowing problems. Patients with kidney problems should inform the doctor so that Carafate dosage can be adjusted.

Side Effects

According to Drugs.com, common side effects of Carafate include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, stomach pain, vomiting, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, skin rash and back pain. A serious side effect of Carafate is encephalopathy, the inflammation of the brain due to the accumulation of aluminum in the body.

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