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Medications Lexicon

How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Sucralfate belongs to the class of medications called gastroduodenal cytoprotective agents. Sucralfate is used to treat duodenal and stomach ulcers and to prevent duodenal ulcers. The liquid form of sucralfate is also used to prevent bleeding due to stress ulcers in people who are critically ill. It works by forming a coating over the ulcer. This coating protects the ulcer from stomach acid, allowing it to heal.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

For the treatment of duodenal and stomach ulcers, the recommended adult dose is 1 g (1 tablet or 5 mL of liquid) 4 times daily, 1 hour before meals and at bedtime, on an empty stomach. In certain cases, your doctor may suggest taking 2 g (2 tablets or 10 mL liquid) twice a day on an empty stomach. Treatment is usually for 6 to 12 weeks.

For the prevention of duodenal ulcers, the recommended adult dose is 1 g (1 tablet or 5 mL of liquid) 2 times daily, on an empty stomach. Treatment may be continued for up to 1 year.

For the prevention of bleeding due to stress ulcers in people who are critically ill, the recommended adult dose of the liquid is 1 g (5 mL) 4 to 6 times daily. Treatment is usually for not more than 14 days.

For the liquid suspension, shake well before using.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Nu-Sucralfate is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under sucralfate. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Sucralfate should not be taken by anyone who is allergic to sucralfate or to any of the ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • backache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • dryness of mouth
  • headache
  • indigestion
  • nausea
  • skin rash, hives, or itching
  • stomach cramps or pain

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • convulsions (seizures)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Chronic kidney failure (dialyzed patients): Sucralfate should be used with caution by people with chronic kidney failure. When sucralfate is taken by mouth, small amounts of aluminum are absorbed from the stomach wall. This may lead to aluminum accumulation. People with normal kidney function are at lower risk for this problem. People with impaired kidney function should be cautious when taking other aluminum-containing medications (e.g., certain antacids) while they also take sucralfate.

Diabetes: People with diabetes have reported high blood sugar levels while taking this medication because the liquid form of sucralfate contains carbohydrate. It is important for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels while taking sucralfate liquid.

General: Because sucralfate does not treat the underlying cause of ulcers, an ulcer may come back after sucralfate treatment.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children and adolescents under 18 years of age. The use of sucralfate by this age group is not recommended.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between sucralfate and any of the following:

  • ASA
  • antacids
  • cimetidine
  • digoxin
  • levothyroxine
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., ibuprofen, indomethacin, naproxen)
  • phenytoin
  • phosphate supplements
  • quinidine
  • quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin)
  • ranitidine
  • tetracycline
  • warfarin

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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