Prilosec Vs. Protonix

By Caryn Kelly

Prilosec and Protonix are similar medications that help decrease the creation of acid in the stomach and help control or cure gastric-related conditions and diseases involving the stomach and esophagus. As with any medication and treatment regimen undertaken for gastric-related conditions, they must be taken only as directed, and side effects and drug interactions can hamper their effectiveness or cause complications.


Prilosec is a delayed-release drug available over-the-counter (OTC) or by prescription. It comes in capsule or oral suspension form containing 10mg, 20mg or 40mg of omeprazole magnesium. Protonix is a drug known as a proton pump inhibitor available only by prescription. It comes in delayed-release tablets or oral suspension form containing 20mg or 40 mg of pantoprazole sodium.


Prilosec is primarily prescribed for short-term treatment of heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers and erosive esophagitis, and for long-term treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions, such as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. Protonix is also used to decrease the amount of acid that builds in the stomach, and is primarily prescribed to treat erosive esophagitis and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.


Prilosec OTC should be taken by mouth once in the morning before breakfast for 14 straight days with an 8 oz. glass of water. No more than one dose should be taken in a 24-hour period. Pills or capsules should not be broken or crushed as they're meant for slow release into the body. Protonix tablets should be swallowed whole with or without food, and are not to be crushed or broken because of their important time-release properties. Protonix oral suspension granules should be sprinkled on applesauce or mixed with apple juice and taken immediately.


Drugs such as Coumadin, Plavix, Reyataz, Antabuse, Prograf, Dilantin, Omnipen, or Principen may cause adverse effects if taken with Prilosec. Medications for insomnia or anxiety such as Valium or Xanax may also interfere with Prilosec. Drugs such as Omnipen, Principen, Reyataz, Coumadin, Plavix or Nizoral may cause adverse effects if taken with Protonix. Certain vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements, especially those containing iron, may interfere with the effectiveness of Prilosec and Protonix.

Side Effects

Possible side effects of Prilosec and Protonix include gas, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. People who have taken Prilosec or Protonix and break out in hives, have problems breathing, or experience swelling in their face, tongue, throat or lips should get emergency medical assistance as they could be seriously allergic to the drugs.


Prilosec will not immediately get rid of heartburn symptoms. It may take up to four days to feel beneficial results from taking Prilosec. Prilosec shouldn't' be taken by anyone who's allergic to omeprazole, and Protonix shouldn't be taken by anyone who's allergic to pantoprazole. Overdosing on Prilosec can cause drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, dry mouth or a speedy heartbeat. Taking Protonix for a long time may cause a B-12 vitamin deficiency.

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