How Long for Prilosec to Start Working?

Summary: Prilosec can actually start giving you relief within 1 hour. Although it doesn’t reach maximum effect until about 2 to 6 hours out. Another advantage of Prilosec is that it bonds very strongly to it’s site of action which means it’s effects last much longer than a drug like Pepcid. This is the reason why you only have to dose Prilosec once a day.

Dear Curtis: My doctor told me that I could start taking Prilosec in the evening.. My question is, how long will it be before it starts working and I notice a difference? I’ve taken Pepcid in the past and that worked pretty quick.

When you take any medication there are always advantages and disadvantages to consider.

For example, I’ve found that if you want something that knocks down the acid really quickly baking soda works great. But it doesn’t last that long. Plus it causes burping.

Pepcid acts pretty quickly. Unfortunately, you have to dose it every 12 hours because it wears off quicker.

With Prilosec, it’s a little different story.

Prilosec Lasts Longer

After you take the capsule it acts on a different pathway (called the “Proton Pump”) to prevent acid secretion than Pepcid does. However, despite a different mechanism of action you may still notice it’s effects within 1 hour. In most cases you won’t get maximum relief until about the 2 to 6 hour mark.

One of the biggest advantages of a drug like Prilosec is that it’s effects last a lot longer than a drug like Pepcid. We don’t know for sure why this happens but believe it has something to do with how strongly Prilosec bonds to it’s site of action.

If you just took one tablet of Prilosec and stopped it would probably help your heartburn for anywhere from 3 to 5 days and then it would come back. But, if you dose it regularly once a day the ability of Prilosec to lower acid secretion actually increases and reaches a “plateau” after about 4 days.

Generic or Brand?

One question that I get is since Prilosec is available over-the-counter as both the brand and the generic, which should you choose?

Based on my personal experience and the feedback from patients I just generally choose the least expensive option. However, Prilosec OTC has dropped a lot in price and is basically the same cost to you as the generic.

In those cases I’d recommend just using the brand name because in rare cases you can respond differently to the generic. Again, that’s rare to have that happen. But since the price is really a wash I’d just use the brand.

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