Carafate is a popular medication taken by patients to prevent intestine ulcers, because it works by forming a special coating over ulcers, thus, protecting the affected area from further injuries. It means that its intake helps users heal their ulcers faster. Sometimes, this medicine is also prescribed to prevent and treat stomach ulcers or the ones caused by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Its Mechanism of Action
Chemically, Carafate is a certain complex of ingredients combined with aluminum and sulfate. There are certain actions that result in its beneficial effects, including:
Binding to the surface of ulcers and coating them to protect users from further injuries caused by the acid;
Binding the bile salts that come from the liver, thus, protecting the stomach from injuries;
Inhibiting pepsin directly when the stomach acid is present;
Increasing the production of prostaglandin.
How to Use Carafate Correctly
You need to take this medication orally 2-4 times a day. Each dose should be taken on an empty stomach, 1 hour before regular meals, and it’s based on your individual response to this therapy. Be sure to take doses regularly to get the most out of this treatment.
Possible Carafate Side Effects
There are some unwanted side effects caused by this medication, and the most common ones include:
Dry mouth and constipation;
Nausea and gas;
Upset stomach and headaches.
These symptoms are mild, but if any of them worsen, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible. Serious side effects are very rare, and they include the following:
Allergic reactions and difficulty swallowing;
Persistent or unusual feeling of stomach fullness;
Stomach pain after meals;
Severe vomiting and nausea.
It’s necessary to go to the hospital once you experience any of these serious signs.
Important Carafate Contraindications
Before you start this treatment, inform doctors whether you have any possible allergies and other serious health conditions, including swallowing problems, kidney issues, intestine and stomach complications, use of breathing tubes, tube feeding and so on. Carafate contains aluminum removed by kidneys, but their functions decline with age, so older patients are more prone to experiencing side effects associated with this therapy.
In addition, this medicine is associated with certain drug interactions that should be avoided, because they increase your risk of having severe side effects and decrease its effectiveness. Don’t combine Carafate with specific antibiotics, such as tetracyclines and quinolones, antacids that contain aluminum, thyroid medications and some others. It’s advisable to make a full list of other pharmaceutical products that you’re taking before going to the hospital. Discuss possible risks of any herbal supplement, prescription and over-the-counter medications that you’re taking to maintain your health.