Aciphex – Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

What Is Aciphex?

Aciphex (rabeprazole) is an oral drug that is used to treat medical conditions. Caused by increased amounts of stomach acid. It is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitor which is used to decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

1. Uses And Benefits

1.1. Healing of Erosive or Ulcerative GERD In Adults

Aciphex delayed-release tablets are used to treat and heal symptoms of erosive or ulcerative gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in adults and children (above the age of 1) for a short period of time (4 to 8 weeks). For patients who have not healed after the 8-week treatment period, an additional week-long course of Aciphex may be considered.

1.2. Maintenance of Healing of Erosive or Ulcerative GERD in Adults

Aciphex delayed-release tablets are also used in order to maintain healing and reduction in relapse cases of heartburn symptoms for patients who have suffered from erosive or ulcerative gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD maintenance). Usually, studies that are controlled do not exceed longer than a year.

1.3. Treatment of Symptomatic GERD in Adults

Aciphex delayed-release tablets are used to treat daytime and night-time heartburn and other GERD. Associated symptoms in adults for up to 4 weeks. 

1.4. Healing Of Duodenal Ulcers in Adults

Aciphex delayed-release tablets are also used for short-term treatment in the healing and symptomatic relief of duodenal ulcers. Usually, most patients are known to heal within a few weeks.

1.5. Helicobacter Pylori Eradication to reduce the risk Of Duodenal Ulcer Recurrence in Adults

In combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin, as a three-drug regimen. Aciphex is used to treat patients with Helicobacter Pylori (H. pylori) infection and also duodenal ulcer disease in order to eradicate H. pylori. Studies suggest that eradication of H. pylori results in the reduced risk of recurrence of duodenal ulcers. For patients that fail therapy, a susceptibility test must be conducted. If patients indicate resistance to clarithromycin or if the susceptibility test is not possible, an alternative antimicrobial therapy must be instituted.

1.6. Treatment of Pathological Hypersecretory conditions, including Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome in Adults

For the long-term treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions. Including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome are treated using Aciphex delayed-release tablets.

1.7. Treatment of Symptomatic GERD in adolescent patients (12 years and older)

Aciphex delayed-release tablets are used to treat symptomatic GERD in adolescents of the ages 12 and above. This treatment is usually for up to 8 weeks.

In addition, Aciphex is used to treat:

  • Increased stomach acid from Systemic Mastocytosis 
  • Inflammation of the stomach lining (caused by H. pylori)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia
  • Bleeding from the stomach
  • Prevention of stomach ulcers (caused by the use of drugs such as Aspirin/ibuprofen)
  • Indigestion

It is not for the immediate relief of heartburn symptoms, however, it does provide overtime relief for symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough. It also helps prevent cancer of the esophagus.

2. Side Effects

In addition to the intended effects of Aciphex, it is possible that the drug may cause some unwanted effects. Not all of these side effects may occur, but in case they do, it is necessary to seek medical attention.

More common side effects of Aciphex include:

  • Headache
  • Pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • Sore throat
  • Gas
  • Infection
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

If these side effects are mild, they are likely to go away within a few days or weeks. In case they do not go away. Medical attention is required.

Serious side effects of Aciphex and their symptoms include:

1. Low magnesium levels

Symptoms can include:

  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular or racing heartbeat
  • Jitteriness
  • Tremors (jerking or shaking movements)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms of the hands and feet
  • Cramps or muscle aches
  • Spasm of the voice box (trouble breathing, coughing, wheezing, hoarse voice or throat tightness)

2. Severe diarrhea (caused by infection with C. difficile)

Symptoms can include:

  • Watery stool
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever

3. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE)

 Symptoms can include:

  • Rash on the skin and nose
  • Raised, red, scaly, red or purple rash on your body

4. Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Blood clots
  • Heartburn 

Drugs affect each person differently therefore different patients will be impacted differently and side effects. Vary from person to person. In case you feel like you have serious side effects, it is important that you call a doctor right away.

3. Important Warnings

3.1. Severe diarrhea warning

Consumption of rabeprazole increases the risk of severe diarrhea in patients. This is caused because bacteria has infected your intestines (Clostridium difficile). It is important to seek medical attention if you have watery stools, stomach pain, and/or fever which does not go away.

3.2. Bone fractures warning

If you have been consuming daily doses of rabeprazole for a year or longer, you are more prone to the risk of hip, wrist, or spine fractures. It is critical that this drug is used at the lowest possible dose. And the shortest time period in order to avoid side effects of such nature. 

3.3. Low magnesium level warning

Rabeprazole consumption causes the magnesium levels in your body to drop and usually takes place after about a year of treatment. However, it is possible that this could occur even after 3 months of rabeprazole consumption. Side effects of low magnesium levels include muscle spasms, abnormal heart rhythms, and seizures.

3.4. Cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) warning

Rabeprazole can cause cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). CLE and SLE are autoimmune diseases. Symptoms of CLE can range from a rash on the skin and nose, to a raised, scaly, red or purple rash on certain parts of the body. Symptoms of SLE include fever, tiredness, weight loss, blood clots, heartburn, and stomach pain. If you have any of these symptoms, you are in need of medical attention.

3.5. Interaction With HIV drugs such as saquinavir

Using these drugs with Aciphex can cause very high levels of these drugs in your body. This can result in increased side effects.

  • Warfarin
    Increased side effects can include a higher INR. This could cause abnormal bleeding. Your doctor will monitor your INR more closely.
  • Cyclosporine
     Your doctor may monitor your cyclosporine blood levels.
  • Methotrexate
    Increased side effects can be caused due to high levels of methotrexate in your body. It is likely that your doctor will monitor the methotrexate levels in your blood.
  • Digoxin
    You may have increased side effects due to high levels of digoxin in your body.