Zegerid OTC is available without a prescription and is designed to relieve frequent heartburn. The medicine comes in capsule form and is taken once a day. As a proton pump inhibitor, Zegerid OTC works by decreasing acid production in the stomach. Although most people tolerate this medicine well, side effects are possible and may include headaches, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
What Is Zegerid OTC?Zegerid OTC™ (omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate) is a nonprescription medication approved to treat frequent heartburn. It is the only nonprescription, immediate-release proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medication.
How Does Zegerid OTC Work?Zegerid OTC belongs to a group of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The stomach contains tiny pumps (called proton pumps) that produce acid. Zegerid OTC works by binding to the proton pumps and stopping them from producing acid. PPIs are very effective at decreasing acid production, as they work directly at the acid pumps.
PPI medications can be destroyed by stomach acid before they have a chance to be absorbed by the body. Other PPIs get around this problem by coating the medication with special delayed-release enteric coatings (which protect the medication until it reaches the small intestine).
Zegerid OTC is different; instead of a delayed-release coating, the capsules contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) that acts as a buffer. This allows the medication to dissolve immediately without being destroyed by stomach acid.
It is important to note that the medication does not provide immediate benefit, as all PPIs (including Zegerid OTC) can take a few days to start working.