What Is Sucralfate (Carafate)?
Sucralfate is the generic form of the brand-name drug Carafate. It's a prescription medicine used to treat ulcers of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Sucralfate is used to treat peptic ulcer disease and to prevent ulcers from recurring after they heal. It may also be used to treat or prevent ulcers caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to treat people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and to prevent ulcers associated with physical stress in hospitalized patients.
The medicine works by forming a barrier or coating over the ulcer, which protects it from acid in the stomach and allows it to heal.
Sucralfate comes in a tablet and a liquid form. The drug was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981 and is manufactured by Aptalis Pharma US, Inc.
What Are the Key Things I Need to Know About Sucralfate?
You should tell your doctor or pharmacist before taking sucralfate if you have a medical history of kidney problems, swallowing problems, stomach/intestine problems, tube feeding, or use of a breathing tube.
The medication contains aluminum, which is normally removed by the kidneys. Elderly patients may be at a higher risk for developing high aluminum levels while taking sucralfate because kidney function declines as you age.
Although some data suggests concern about the effects of aluminum during pregnancy might be warranted, human studies have shown no negative effects on the fetus. Sucralfate is generally considered safe during pregnancy. Although there are no data, the medicine is also considered safe for use by breast-feeding mothers.
Sucralfate Side Effects
Common Side Effects of Sucralfate
Side effects of sucralfate are typically mild and may include:
- Upset stomach
- Back pain
- Dizziness or drowsiness
- Mild itching or skin rash
- Elevated blood sugar in people with diabetes
Serious Side Effects of Sucralfate
Serious side effects of sucralfate are rare. You should get emergency medical help if you experience any signs of an allergic reaction while taking sucralfate. These may include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, lips, or throat.
Do Other Drugs Affect the Way Sucralfate Works?
Sucralfate can bind to drugs in the stomach and reduce their absorption, so some medicines should be taken at least two hours prior to sucralfate. Sucralfate may reduce the absorption of:
It is possible that many other drugs will interact with sucralfate, so you should tell your doctor about all prescription, non-prescription, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional, or dietary drugs or supplements you are taking.
Should I Avoid Any Food, Drink or Activity While Taking Sucralfate?
Tobacco may block the beneficial effects of sucralfate, so you should not smoke or chew tobacco when taking this drug.
What Are the Typical Dosages for Sucralfate?
The recommended dose of sucralfate for treating active ulcers is 1 gram, four times a day for four to eight weeks. The recommended dose for preventing ulcers from recurring is 1 gram, twice a day.
This drug is given on an empty stomach, at least one hour before a meal.
What Happens if I Take too Much Sucralfate and Overdose?
If you suspect an overdose, you should contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. You can get in touch with a poison control center at (800) 222-1222.
What Happens if I Miss a Dose of Sucralfate or Don't Take It as Prescribed?
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double up on doses.
By Julie Marks | Medically Reviewed by Sherry Brooks, MD
Latest Update: 2014-09-04
Copyright © 2014 Everyday Health Media, LLC
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Video: Sucralfate Suspension| ReviewTube
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