Zegerid is a combination of the proton pump inhibitor omeprazole and an antacid called sodium bicarbonate. Zegerid is sold via prescription, while Zegerid OTC is available over-the-counter.

What is Zegerid Used For?

Zegerid is indicated to treat:

  • Duodenal and gastric ulcers
  • GERD
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Maintenance of healing erosive esophagitis
  • Reduce GI bleeds in critically ill patients

In most instances, Zegerid is intended for short-term use, ranging from 4 to 8 weeks. Controlled studies do not extend beyond 12 months for the maintenance of healing erosive esophagitis.

Zegerid OTC is used to treat frequent heartburn (occurring more than twice per week). It is intended to be taken once per day for a period of 14 days.

How Does Zegerid Work?

Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that is also the active ingredient in Prilosec and Prilosec OTC. This drug relieves symptoms by inhibiting the action of cells in the stomach that produce gastric acid. The sodium bicarbonate contained in Zegerid is an antacid that protects omeprazole from stomach acid, thereby allowing greater absorption of the drug.

Zegerid Side Effects

Serious side effects associated with the use of Zegerid include:

  • Atrophic gastritis
  • Acute interstitial nephritis
  • B12 Deficiency
  • diff associated diarrhea
  • Interactions with Plavix
  • Bone fracture
  • Low magnesium levels

Proton Pump Inhibitors

According to IMS Health, proton pump inhibitors were the ninth most commonly prescribed medications in 2015. Their popularity has raised concerns that many people are using the drugs in the absence of a true medical need, or for longer periods than what is recommended. For example,  one recent study conducted at a long-term health facility found that 65% of people taking a proton pump inhibitor had not been diagnosed with a condition that would warrant such treatment. Proton pump inhibitors can also be difficult to quit, as they are known to cause a phenomenon called “rebound,” in which the stomach produces even more acid once treatment ceases.

Recent studies have linked the long-term use of proton pump inhibitors to a number of health problems:

Kidney Complications

Acute interstitial nephritis, a sudden form of kidney inflammation, is a complication known to be associated with proton pump inhibitors. However, some recent studies have also suggested that these drugs might increase a patient’s risk for chronic kidney disease and kidney failure, especially when taken for extended periods of time. Read More


In April 2016, research published in JAMA Neurology suggested that seniors who use proton pump inhibitors were 44% more likely to suffer from dementia compared with those not receiving the medications.  Read More

Heart Attack

In June 2015, research published in PLOS One  suggested that people who take proton pump inhibitors were 16-to-21% more likely to have a heart attack.

Blood Vessel Damage

In May 2016, results of a lab study published in Circulation Research suggested that extended use of proton pump inhibitors could accelerate blood vessel aging. This could explain recent finding linking the drugs to kidney complications, heart attacks and other health problems. Read More

  1. FDA (N.D.) “Zegerid: Highlights of Prescribing Information” http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/021636s008lbl.pdf
  2. WebMD (2016) “Research Points to ‘Smoking Gun’ for PPI Risks” http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20160608/proton-pump-inhibitor-health-risks
  3. JAMA: Internal Medicine (2016) “Proton Pump Inhibitor Use and the Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease” http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2481157
  4. JASN (2016) “Proton Pump Inhibitors and Risk of Incident CKD and Progression to ESRD” http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2016/04/13/ASN.2015121377.abstract
Last Modified: June 15, 2016

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