Munson Health
Medications for Peptic Ulcer Disease

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by Carson-DeWitt R
The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea of what to expect from each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your doctor, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
If you are diagnosed with a peptic ulcer caused by Helicobacter pylori, your doctor will use a combination of medications. You may be given one or two types of antibiotics, as well as medications that help control your stomach acid production. You might be advised to use antacids to help soothe uncomfortable symptoms.
During treatment, you will likely need to stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) . Once the ulcer is healed, you and your doctor will evaluate any future NSAID use.

Prescription Medications

Examples of prescription medications include:
  • Tetracycline
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Amoxicillin
  • Clarithromycin
  • Levaquin
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Nizatidine (Axid)
  • Omeprazole (Prilosec)
  • Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
  • Pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
  • Esomeprazole (Nexium)
Sodium Sucralfate (Carafate)
Misoprostol (Cytotec)

Over-the-Counter Medications

Examples of over-the-counter medications include:
  • Gaviscon
  • Di-Gel
  • Mylanta
  • Maalox Advanced Regular Strength
  • Tums

Prescription Medications

Common names include:
  • Tetracycline
  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Amoxicillin
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Levofloxacin
Antibiotics can clear up the bacteria H. pylori . You should always take all of the prescription, even if you begin to feel better before your medication is finished.
  • Always take with a full glass of water.
  • Don’t take tetracycline within two hours of drinking a milk product or using an antacid.
  • Be sure your doctor knows if there’s any chance you may be pregnant. Tetracycline can permanently stain the baby’s developing teeth.
  • Tetracycline may make you very sensitive to sunlight. Protect your skin appropriately.
  • Take with food to avoid stomach upset.
  • Don’t drink alcohol while you’re using this medication.
  • Your urine may appear darker and you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth while you’re taking metronidazole.
  • Some people feel lightheaded when they first start taking metronidazole. You should avoid driving, operating dangerous machinery, and participating in hazardous activities until you know how this drug will affect you.
  • Have your doctor and pharmacist check to make sure you’re not taking any other drugs that could interact with clarithromycin.
Any type of antibiotic can cause an allergic reaction. Discontinue the drug and contact your doctor immediately if you notice:
  • A new skin rash
  • Hives or welts on your skin
  • Puffiness of the face or around your eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  H-2 Blockers
Common names include:
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Nizatidine (Axid)
H-2 blockers help decrease acid production in the stomach. They may be given to help with heartburn , indigestion, ulcers, or other forms of excess acidity in the stomach. Some of these drugs have potential drug interactions with other medications, so consult your doctor and pharmacist.
Possible side effects include:
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion (cimetidine, especially in the elderly)
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Cytotec
Misoprostol protects the stomach lining and decreases acid production. This helps peptic ulcers heal more quickly. It’s also useful to protect people taking NSAIDs against the development of peptic ulcers.
Some people develop nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea while using this medication. These side effects usually go away within a few days. However, if they don’t go away or if they seem severe, contact your doctor.


H. pylori and peptic ulcers. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: Updated April 30, 2012. Accessed April 29, 2013.

Meurer LN, Bower DJ. Management of Helicobacter pylori infection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(7):1327-36.

Peptic ulcer disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2013.

Understanding peptic ulcer disease. American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: Published April 23, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013.

3/1/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Maalox Total Relief and Maalox liquid products: medication use errors. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Published February 17, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013.

5/28/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance FDA: possible fracture risk with high-dose, long-term use of proton pump inhibitors. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: Published May 25, 2010. Accessed April 29, 2013.


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