Ask The Expert
April 22, 2013
You are correct. The ingredients are the same. Zegerid contains omeprazole (the active ingredient in Prilosec). Zegerid also contains 1,100 milligrams of sodium bicarbonate (about ľ teaspoon).
Omeprazole is part of a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These are the most potent blockers of stomach acid. To be effective, these drugs need to be absorbed from the intestine into the blood stream so they can reach the inside surface of the stomach cells. That's where PPIs work.
Here's the problem: As the drug passes through the stomach, the acid in the stomach breaks down the PPI before it reaches the intestine.
To get around this problem, PPIs (other than Zegerid) have protective coatings around the tablets. This keeps the acid from breaking down the active ingredient. (The downside is that the coating slows down the absorption of the active ingredient from the intestine into the blood stream.)
The makers of Zegerid solved the problem a different way. Instead of using a coating, they added sodium bicarbonate. This chemical neutralizes the acid before it can break down the active ingredient. When the omeprazole in Zegerid reaches the intestine, it is absorbed into the blood more quickly because it doesn't have a protective coating.
Should you switch? It depends upon two factors:
If your current medicine doesnít control your symptoms, you could try the Zegerid. And itís a good idea to talk with your doctor. Any time you have symptoms that persist, you want to be sure you just have acid reflux. And your doctor may suggest a different therapy.