Rabeprazole | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

rabeprazole, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • AcipHex
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for rabeprazole

Oral tablet
1

Rabeprazole is used to treat several gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. These are all caused by high levels of acid produced by the stomach. These conditions include:

  • heartburn and other symptoms related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes acid-related damage to the lining of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach)
  • duodenal ulcers (sores in the first part of the small intestine), including sores caused by bacteria (Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori)
  • conditions that cause the stomach to make too much acid 
2

This drug comes in the form of a tablet and a capsule you take by mouth. Both forms are delayed-release. This means the medication is slowly released into your body over time.

3

Rabeprazole is available as the brand-name drugs called Aciphex (tablet) and Aciphex Sprinkle (capsule). The tablet is also available as a generic drug. The capsule isn’t available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug can include headache, sore throat, gas, constipation, or infection. 

5

In some cases, rabeprazole can cause serious side effects. These can include low magnesium levels. They can also include severe diarrhea caused by infection of the intestines by bacteria (Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile). 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Severe diarrhea

Rabeprazole raises your risk of severe diarrhea. This diarrhea is caused by infection of the intestines by bacteria (Clostridium difficile). Talk to your doctor if you have watery stool, stomach pain, or a fever that doesn’t go away.

Bone fractures

Rabeprazole raises your risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine if you take several daily doses for a long period of time (1 year or longer). This drug should be used at the lowest dose possible. It should also be used for the shortest time needed.

Low magnesium levels

Rabeprazole can cause low levels in your body of a mineral called magnesium. This usually happens after 1 year of treatment. However, it can occur after you take rabeprazole for 3 months or longer. Low magnesium levels may not cause any symptoms, but serious side effects can occur. These can include muscle spasms, abnormal heart rhythms, or seizures.

What is rabeprazole?

Rabeprazole is a prescription drug. It comes in the form of a tablet and a capsule you take by mouth. Both forms are delayed-release. This means the medication is slowly released into your body over time.

Rabeprazole is available as the brand-name drugs called Aciphex (tablet) and Aciphex Sprinkle (capsule). The tablet is also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Rabeprazole may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications. When rabeprazole is used to treat an infection caused by the bacterium H. pylori, it’s used in combination with two antibiotics. These are amoxicillin and clarithromycin.

Why it's used

Rabeprazole is used to treat several gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.

More Details

How it works

Rabeprazole belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors.

More Details

Why it's used

Rabeprazole is used to treat several gastrointestinal (GI) conditions. These include:

  • heartburn and other symptoms related to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when acid in your stomach backs up into your esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). This can cause a burning feeling in the chest or throat, a sour taste in the mouth, or burping.
  • duodenal ulcers (sores in the first part of the small intestine), including ulcers caused by the bacterium H. pylori.
  • conditions that cause the stomach to make too much acid. These include a rare condition called Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

How it works

Rabeprazole belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Rabeprazole works by reducing the amount of acid produced in your stomach.

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SECTION 2 of 4

rabeprazole Side Effects

Oral tablet

More common side effects

The more common side effects of rabeprazole can include:

  • headache

  • pain in the abdomen (stomach area)

  • sore throat

  • gas

  • infection

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following: 

  • Low levels of magnesium (a mineral). Symptoms can include:

    • seizures
    • dizziness
    • irregular or fast heartbeat
    • jitteriness
    • tremors (jerking movements or shaking)
    • muscle weakness
    • spasms of the hands and feet
    • cramps or muscle aches
    • spasm of the voice box, with symptoms such as trouble breathing, coughing, wheezing, hoarse voice, or throat tightness
  • Severe diarrhea (caused by infection with C. difficile). Symptoms can include:

    • watery stool
    • stomach pain
    • fever
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Rabeprazole doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

rabeprazole May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Rabeprazole can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. 

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs that you should not use with rabeprazole

Do not take these drugs with rabeprazole. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in the body. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) drugs such as atazanavir or nelfinavir.
    • Using these drugs with rabeprazole can cause very low levels of these drugs in your body. As a result, they won’t work as well.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects

Taking rabeprazole with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from these drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Warfarin.
    • Increased side effects can include ­­­­­­­­­­­­­a higher INR (blood test result). This could cause abnormal bleeding.
    • Your doctor may monitor your INR more closely.
  • Cyclosporine.
    • Increased side effects can include ­­­­­­­­­­­­­headache, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, or dizziness.
    • Your doctor may monitor your cyclosporine blood levels. 
  • Methotrexate.
    • Increased side effects can include muscle pain or inflammation in the digestive tract.­­

Interactions that can make your drugs less effective

When certain drugs are used with rabeprazole, they may not work as well. This is because the amount of these drugs in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Antifungal drugs such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, fluconazole, or voriconazole.
    • Your doctor may advise you to have an acidic drink, such as cola, to help your stomach absorb these drugs. Or your doctor may stop your treatment with rabeprazole while you take these drugs to make sure they work well.
  • Mycophenolate mofetil.
    • Your doctor will likely monitor your treatment with mycophenolate mofetil and may adjust your dosage.
  • Iron salts.
    • Your doctor will likely monitor your iron levels to make sure they stay in a safe range.
  • Cancer drugs such as erlotinib, dasatinib, bosutinib, gefitinib, or nilotinib.
    • Your doctor will likely monitor your body’s response to these drugs to make sure they work well. 

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Rabeprazole warnings
liver problems
People with liver problems

If you have liver problems or a history of liver disease, you may not be able to clear this drug from your body well. This may increase the levels of rabeprazole in your body and cause more side effects. If you have severe liver disease, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Rabeprazole is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Rabeprazole may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed. 

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects. 

children
For children
  • Rabeprazole can be used in children 12 years and older to treat GERD for up to 8 weeks.
  • Rabeprazole can be used in children between the ages of 1–11 years to treat GERD for up to 12 weeks.
  • The use of rabeprazole to treat GERD in infants less than 1 month of age is strongly discouraged.
  • It hasn’t been confirmed that rabeprazole is safe and effective to treat other GI conditions in people younger than 18 years. 
call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Rabeprazole can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • swelling of your face
  • throat tightness
  • trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take rabeprazole (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Generic: rabeprazole

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex Sprinkle

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical dosage: 20 mg once daily.
  • Note: The length of treatment depends on your condition. It will be different if you have acid-related damage in your esophagus, or if you’re only being treated for heartburn symptoms caused by GERD.
Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Typical dosage: 20 mg once daily for up to 8 weeks.

Child dosage (ages 0–11 years)

Typical dosage: 5–10 mg once daily for up to 12 weeks. Your child’s dosage will be based on their weight.

Child dosage (ages younger than 1 year)

It hasn’t been confirmed that rabeprazole is effective for use in infants 1–11 months of age. The use of rabeprazole in infants less than 1 month of age is strongly discouraged.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing muscle problems while taking rabeprazole.

Duodenal ulcers

Generic: rabeprazole

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex Sprinkle

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Typical dosage: 20 mg once daily for up to 4 weeks.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that rabeprazole is safe and effective to treat duodenal ulcers in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing muscle problems while taking rabeprazole.

Ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori

Generic: rabeprazole

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex Sprinkle

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical dosage: 20 mg twice daily for 7 days.
  • Note: To treat ulcers caused by H. pylori, this drug is used in combination with the drugs amoxicillin and clarithromycin. 
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that rabeprazole is safe and effective to treat duodenal ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing muscle problems while taking rabeprazole.

Conditions that cause the stomach to make too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome

Generic: rabeprazole

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg

Brand: Aciphex Sprinkle

Form: Oral capsule
Strengths: 5 mg, 10 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical starting dosage: 60 mg once daily.
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor will increase your dosage as needed.
  • Maximum dosage: 100 mg once daily, or 60 mg twice daily. 
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that rabeprazole is safe and effective to treat stomach acid problems in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing muscle problems while taking rabeprazole.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Rabeprazole comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

The amount of acid in your stomach won’t be reduced. As a result, your medical condition won’t be controlled.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • flushing (sudden redness and warmth in the face)
  • confusion
  • headache
  • blurry vision
  • pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • nausea or vomiting
  • drowsiness

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have less pain in your gastrointestinal (GI) system.

Rabeprazole is typically used for short-term treatment.

In some cases, it may be used for long-term treatment.

Ask your doctor if you should take these tablets with food

Whether you should take them with or without food depends on your medical condition. The sprinkle capsules should be taken before a meal.

Take the tablets at the time(s) recommended by your doctor

The sprinkle capsules should be taken 30 minutes before a meal.

You can’t chew, crush, or split the rabeprazole tablets

The rabeprazole sprinkle capsules should be opened and sprinkled onto a small amount of soft food or added to a small amount of liquid. The granules in the capsule shouldn’t be chewed or crushed.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store rabeprazole at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your magnesium levels may be monitored if you are on long-term treatment with rabeprazole. This will help make sure your level doesn’t drop too low. This monitoring is done using blood tests.

Your diet

Rabeprazole can decrease the levels of vitamin B12 in your blood. If you’ve been taking rabeprazole for more than 3 years, talk with your doctor about whether you should take vitamin B12  supplements.

Hidden costs

You may need blood tests to check your magnesium level. The cost of these tests will depend on your insurance coverage.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 22, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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