Approved for use in adults and children, Carafate (in tablet and liquid form) is prescribed to treat duodenal ulcers. In tablet form, this medication can also prevent the ulcers from recurring. It works by forming a protective layer on the ulcer. On occasion, a healthcare provider may prescribe this drug for off-label uses, such as treating stomach ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What Is Carafate Used For?Carafate® (sucralfate) is a prescription medication approved to treat duodenal ulcers (ulcers of the upper part of the small intestine). Both the tablet and the suspension forms are approved for healing the ulcers (to be used for up to eight weeks), but only the tablet form is approved for maintenance treatment (to prevent the ulcers from coming back after healing has occurred).
Ulcers can occur in several places within the digestive tract. One common place for an ulcer is in the duodenum (the upper part of the intestine just after the stomach). This type of ulcer is called a duodenal ulcer. Another common place to have an ulcer is in the stomach. This is called a stomach ulcer or gastric ulcer. "Peptic ulcer" is a term that includes both duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers.
There are many ulcer causes, including medications, infections, and diseases. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, are a common cause of ulcers. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (or H. pylori) can also cause ulcers. Certain conditions that increase the production of stomach acid can also cause ulcers.
Common ulcer symptoms include heartburn symptoms or stomach pain (especially at night) and loss of appetite. Symptoms of bleeding ulcers include dizziness, vomiting blood, and blood in the stool (seen as dark-colored stools). Some people may not have any symptoms of an ulcer.