Can I take Pepcid or Prilosec Indefinitely?

A man holding stomach and experiencing an intestinal infection while sitting on his sofa at home

Can I take Pepcid or Prilosec Indefinitely?

You stand up from the table after eating and feel the nagging uneasiness of something being not quite right. If you are a frequent heartburn sufferer, you already know what this feeling is like.

It is frustrating to have to deal with, and you might find yourself reaching for the easiest solution to your problem. You just want to put the symptoms of acid reflux and stomach acid at bay, and no one can blame you. However, before you dive in too deeply with certain medications, you should always check to ensure that you are only taking the right medications at the right time.

One question that some heartburn sufferers have is this “Can I take Pepcid or Prilosec indefinitely?”. These medications might have provided them some relief in the past, and they want to know if they can continue to take these medications long into the future. We will explore that question in depth now.

Can You Take Famotidine Long Term?

The brand name for Famotidine is Pepcid AC or Zantac 360, and you might be more familiar with these brand names for it. Regardless, you should know that it is unwise to take famotidine for longer than 14 days in a row. That is the maximum amount of time that is recommended that anyone take this kind of medication. It is also important that you reach out to your healthcare provider immediately if you feel the need to take Famotidine for longer than 14 days or if you experience heartburn for more than 3 months.

Famotidine may be used for longer than the recommended 14 days if you are directed to do so by your healthcare provider. However, barring that, you should not try to take this medication for that long of a period of time.

Pepcid vs. Prilosec OTC: Which Is Right for Me?

You are looking over the shelves at your local pharmacy trying to decide which medications are right for you to treat your heartburn situation. If you run into this scenario and are trying to decide between Pepcid and Prilosec OTC, you need to know a bit more about what each one can provide to you. offers a useful explanation of what these two different medications do. The description they offer for Pepcid is as follows:

Pepcid is a fast-acting medication that starts working within 15 to 30 minutes of taking it. It comes in a 10 mg version or a 20 mg “extra strength” option. Its quick release makes it a great choice for people dealing with less frequent heartburn bouts that need relief right away. You should take Pepcid 15 to 60 minutes before eating. goes on to explain that Prilosec OTC works in the following way:

Prilosec OTC is for people who have long-term heartburn. It works more as a preventive medication for heartburn than a quick treatment, Dr. Patel says. And unlike Pepcid, the body doesn’t develop a tolerance to it.

These medications are useful for people suffering from heartburn in different ways. The immediate treatment of frequent heartburn systems can be treated by Pepcid. Meanwhile, long-term and ongoing heartburn is best treated by Prilosec OTC. The difference between the two is important to note and should be taken into account when one is attempting to do their best to treat the heartburn systems that they experience.

Are PPIs Safe Over the Long Term?

Taking PPIs over a long period of time poses risks. UCLA Health notes that the prolonged use of PPIs can result in a reduced ability by the body to absorb important nutrients such as magnesium and Vitamin B12. This can put one at an increased risk of intestinal infections and other related health issues.

There are certain circumstances when a doctor might recommend that a patient takes a PPI over the long term. However, this is only something that should be done under the guidance of one’s doctor. Otherwise, it is too big of a health risk that could blow up in one’s face all too easily. Instead, one should always speak directly with their doctor about the health concerns they might have related to their own use of a PPI over the long term.

What Is Considered Long-Term for Taking Pepcid or Prilosec?

When taking a medication like Pepcid or Prilosec, “long-term” refers to a period longer than the 14-day period that is generally considered safe for use by any given patient. If you feel the need to take either of these medications for longer than 14 days, then you should speak with a doctor before taking a chance on something like that. You do NOT want to put yourself in a situation where you end up with serious health consequences as a result of taking a given medication.

A doctor can override the 14-day limit on taking these medications, but they will do so based on your specific medical history and health condition. They are trained to know what to look for in a given patient, and that is why you must be certain to speak with them first. You cannot make a decision like this on your own.

Heartburn is a tough thing to deal with. Taking care of it via OTC medications is one approach, but you can also combine this with changes in your diet. You should consider eliminating some of the acid-producing foods and beverages that might cause heartburn flare-ups in your life. This means you should look at eliminating:

  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Red meats
  • Soft drinks
  • and more

These are all things that have proven to cause flare-ups in many patients. It might be challenging to completely eliminate these options from your diet right away, but you can scale down on your consumption of these products to see some results. This will help you to experience heartburn less frequently and end up with less pain and discomfort. Make both choices to get the best possible results and start putting your heartburn behind you.

Gyan Gastroenterology (Sudha Nahar, MD)
(732) 873-1600
Associated Gastroenterology of Central New Jersey (Lawrence Pickover, MD)
(732) 846-2777
Steven H. Krawet, MD
(732) 390-5534
Nashed Botros, MD
(732) 967- 9595
Satya Kastuar, MD
(732) 821-0011
Yuri Volk, MD
(732) 677-2200
Cape Atlantic Gastroenterology Associates (Richard Troum, DO, FACG)