Sucralfate is an exceptional oral medicine. The chemical composition of sucralfate comprises a compound of the disaccharide sugar, sucrose blended with sulfate and aluminum. This medication is absorbed by the body modestly and it entirely works on the lining of the walls of the stomach and duodenum. While the mechanism of action of sucralfate is yet to be understood completely, a number of actions of the medicament are considered to be significant for its favorable results.
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The actions of sucralfate which are thought to have beneficial effects are as follows. Sucralfate attaches to the surface of ulcers, in effect, binding to the exposed proteins, and covers the ulcers. To some extent, this action of the medication helps to protect the surface of the ulcers from further harm by acid and pepsin. Sucralfate also expressly slows down pepsin - an enzyme responsible for breaking down proteins, in the presence of the acids produced by the stomach. In addition, sucralfate also attaches bile salts released from the liver through the bile and, hence, protects the lining of the stomach from any harm caused by the bile acids. Sucralfate is also known to enhance the production of prostaglandin, which is believed to protect the lining of the stomach walls.
It may be noted here that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States approved the sale and use of sucralfate in 1981.
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As in the instance of using any other drug, you need to take certain precautions before you start taking sucralfate. First and foremost, you should tell your physician if you have any allergic reactions to sucralfate or any other medication. Also tell your physician if you are suffering from or had suffered any heart or kidney ailments and diabetes. In addition, prior to starting your treatment with sucralfate, you should also inform your doctor regarding all the prescription, non-prescription (over-the-counter) medicaments and herbal products being used by you. You should especially mention if you are taking anticoagulants (blood thinners) like warfarin (Coumadin), antacids (Maalox, Mylanta) and any vitamins. In case you are taking any of the above mentioned medications, it is advisable not to take them within or prior to two hours of taking sucralfate. Moreover, if you take dietary supplement with sip feeds or bottle feeds that may have been prescribed by your doctor or a dietician, ensure that you separate your feed and your sucralfate dose by a minimum of one hour.
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Women who intend to take sucralfate should tell their doctor if they are pregnant, planning pregnancy or are breast feeding. Call your doctor immediately in case any woman becomes pregnant while taking sucralfate. In the event of having to undergo another treatment, including a surgery or dental treatment, tell the doctor undertaking the treatment about the medications you are taking, especially sucralfate.
People who are taking sucralfate ought to keep regular appointments with their doctor in order to assess the progress made by the therapy as well as monitor your condition routinely. Finally, when purchasing any medication, it is important to check with a pharmacist regarding the safety of its use when taken concurrently with other medicines.
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Sucralfate is primarily indicated for treating non-malignant stomach ulcers. In addition, this medicine is also given to treat as well as avoid ulcers of the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine situated immediately after the stomach in the digestive tract.
In addition, this medication has also been used to provide relief from or avoid ulcers caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, sucralfate has been found to be less effectual compared to misoprostol (Cytotec). Sucralfate is also given to patients suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and who have a propensity to develop ulcers in the esophagus. Among hospital patients, sucralfate is also prescribed for preventing ulcers related to excessive physical strain, for instance, surgery, wide-ranging burn injuries as well as devastating infections.
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Sucralfate has numerous other uses too. It is used to protect the lining of the stomach wall when one is taking aspirin and also for treating mouth sores that happen due to cancer chemotherapy. Before using sucralfate, it is important to discuss with your physician about the potential risks of using this medication to treat your condition. It is possible that your doctor will suggest a number of changes in your lifestyle, for instance, diet changes, programs to reduce stress and also exercise to facilitate the treatment as well as prevention of ulcers. Here is a word of caution for patients using sucralfate - never ever share this medication with anyone else.
Sucralfate is an oral medication that is generally taken twice to four times every day preferably with water. It should be taken on an empty stomach no less than one hour prior to taking a meal, or as directed by your physician. The dosage of sucralfate depends on the medical condition of the patient as well as his/ her response to therapy.
It is important to use sucralfate on a regular basis to get the utmost benefit from the medication. In order to help you remember taking the medication on time, take sucralfate at the same time every day. Even if you start feeling better and do not experience any pain due to ulcer, you ought to continue taking sucralfate regularly and complete the prescribe course as well as prevent the recurrence of the problem. It is advisable not to discontinue taking this medication without prior consultation with your physician regarding the issue. The results of taking sucralfate are not apparent immediately and it may take anything between four to eight weeks for the ulcer to heal absolutely.
It is important to note that sucralfate may interact with certain drugs when taken concurrently and prevent those drugs from being fully absorbed by the body. In case you are taking other medications also to treat some other condition, it is advisable to take them either two hours before or two hours after taking sucralfate with a view to evade interactions.
Although patients taking sucralfate may use antacids, it is advisable to space them out over 30 minutes before or after taking sucralfate. If your condition persists or deteriorates even after taking sucralfate for around four weeks, bring this to the notice of your doctor. In case you miss a dose of sucralfate, take it immediately when you remember. However, if it is already time for the subsequent dose, drop the missed dose and continue taking the medication as per schedule. Never take an excessive dose or take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.
Sucralfate basically works by forming a coat on the surface on an ulcer, thereby protecting the tissue from exasperation caused by digestive enzymes, stomach acids, bile salts and other substances that may be present in the stomach and duodenum.
Sucralfate is known to interact with certain herbal products and/ or minerals and, hence, it is advisable not to take them concurrently. In addition, this medication may also react with certain foods and beverages. Even smoking tobacco is harmful for people taking sucralfate. Hence, before you start taking sucralfate, talk to your doctor regarding the potential interactions of this medication with other substances.
As aforementioned, sucralfate interacts with a number of herbal medicines. For instance, taking kola and ma huang (ephedra) simultaneously with sucralfate is likely to enhance the secretion of stomach acids. This, in turn, blunts the benefits of sucralfate. Similarly, it is not advisable to use black cohosh root, squill and ginkgo with sucralfate as it may result in gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor before adding any herbal products to these medications.
Foods rich in protein content enhance the secretion of stomach acids. In addition, onions, garlic, tomatoes and certain fruits may also result in increased stomach acid secretion. Therefore, people taking sucralfate should strictly follow the diet prescribed by their physician. In addition, they should keep away from foods that have the potential to cause stomach upsets, for instance, citrus fruits and juices, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages and any beverage that contains caffeine.
As mentioned earlier, caffeine or beverages containing caffeine are likely to increase the secretion of stomach acid. Therefore, talk to your physician on how to restrict your coffee consumption. It is important to note that sucralfate should preferably be taken with water.
Tobacco smoking is extremely harmful for those suffering from stomach ulcers. In effect, use of nicotine has the aptitude to delay the ulcer healing process and, at the same time, diminish the efficacy of sucralfate. People using sucralfate need to keep away from all forms of tobacco. In fact, smoking tobacco augments the amount of acid secreted by the stomach and, this in turn, worsens the ulcers. In case you are an avid smoker, ask your physician or pharmacist to suggest ways and means to quit smoking.
Sucralfate should always be stored at room temperature ranging between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). This medication should also be stored in a dry and dark place. Never ever store sucralfate in your bathroom, which is mostly damp. As with any other drug, keep sucralfate out of the reach of children and pets. It is advisable that unless instructed otherwise, you should never flush sucralfate or any other medication down the toilet. Pouring them into a drain is also hazardous. When the expiry date of the medication has lapsed or it is no longer needed, dispose of it in a proper and safe manner. You may consult your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company for further information regarding how to discard your medications safely.