Zantac vs Prilosec: Stomach Problems Solved

Stomach problems form one of the most common kinds of health conditions. People of every age face stomach problems every day. The food we eat can cause a lot of trouble to our digestive system. Eating unhealthy food with a lot of oil and filled with fats and food preservatives makes our digestive system suffer. This is the cause for a lot of different diseases in the stomach. Most indigestions start with acidity and can later turn into more serious illnesses such as stomach ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Our body naturally regulates the amount of acid in our stomach, which is extremely essential for some function. However, with the wrong lifestyle choices, this does not happen and the body produces excessive acid. There are special medicines that can help us deal with this problem. These medicines include antacids, or acid regulators. Two of the most famous acid regulators are Zantac and Prilosec. Both of these are available over the counter and are effective in treating acidity.

People who encounter this problem for the first time may get confused when they go to the pharmacy and have to choose between two seemingly identical medicines: Zantac and Prilosec. This article gives a detailed description of both these drugs and will help you understand their distinctive features, so that you may pick the appropriate one.

General information on Zantac and Prilosec

Zantac and Prilosec are antacids that regulate the volume of acid in the stomach. The symptom of excessive acid in the stomach includes heartburns, unusual burping, etc. In many cases, the regular acidity in the stomach leads to ulcers that are very painful and need a medical treatment. The only way to control the process is take antacids. Zantac and Prilosec are both well-known antacids that regulate the acid production in the stomach. If the acid production is limited, there will be no acidity and other stomach problems. However, as effective these medicines are, they have some side effects and differences. We will learn all about them in the sections below.

Side effects of Zantac and Prilosec

As said earlier, all medicines have definite side effects and Zantac and Prilosec are no exception. The adverse reactions caused by these two drugs are short-lived and usually disappear by themselves. However, you might have to consult your doctor if any side effect lasts for more than a couple of days. Here are the most common side effects of Zantac and Prilosec:

  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting and nausea;
  • Rashes;
  • Headache and dizziness;
  • Abnormal heartbeat;
  • Weakness;
  • Cramps and muscle pain;
  • Depression;
  • Constipation;
  • Insomnia;
  • Anemia;
  • Osteoporosis;
  • Hair loss;
  • Liver damage.

The adverse effects such as anemia, liver damage, and osteoporosis can only happen after prolonged use of these medicines. Thus, it is not advisable to take Prilosec or Zantac longer than needed, or they will do more harm to your body.

Differences between Zantac and Prilosec

Even though both Zantac and Prilosec are used to deal with the same health issues, this does not necessarily mean that they are similar in every detail. They have a lot of differences that make them only suitable for certain kinds of people. Here are the major differences between Zantac and Prilosec.

  • Mode of action: Zantac and Prilosec work in different ways to regulate acidity in the stomach. Prilosec is the proton pump inhibitor that blocks the production of acid by the stomach. The enzymes that release acid in the stomach are blocked by Omeprazole that is contained in Prilosec, so the acid production comes down. Zantac belongs to the H2 blockers that have a different mechanism for blocking the acid production. The acid production in the stomach is stimulated by histamines and when these are blocked, it goes down.
  • Side effects: The side effects of both Zantac and Prilosec vary from each other. Prilosec can cause things, such as anemia, nervousness, depression, confusion, and much more. Zantac can cause effects such as muscle pain, increased heartbeat, weakness, water retention, and leg cramps.
  • Form: Prilosec is only available in the forms of powder and pills. In case of Zantac, you will find it in the form of pill, syrup, oral solution, as well as injections.
  • Dosage: The daily prescribed dosage of Prilosec is from 20mg to 40mg. Any dosage that is above 80mg should be divided into two. It is possible to take Zantac in two 150mg doses, or one 300mg before bedtime.
  • Drug interaction: Prilosec interacts with a lot of drugs in the stomach in comparison to Zantac. The only medicines that Zantac can affect are the ones that require acid to get absorbed.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Pregnant women should avoid Prilosec as it might cause an adverse effect to the developing embryo. However, Zantac is safe to take during pregnancy, but a doctor's advice is still required. The use of Zantac and Prilosec is prohibited during breastfeeding as the Ranitidine and Omeprazole are secreted in the breast mild and may cause negative effects on the child.
  • Cost: Zantac is much cheaper than Prilosec. If you are on a budget, Zantac is the best option for you.


Zantac and Prilosec are both effective antacids that are used in treating heartburns along with major diseases, such as ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease. As we saw in the comparison, both of these have their own way of relieving acidity in the stomach. One does it by blocking H2 and the other one simply blocks proton pump. However, both drugs have their advantages. As far as the side effects are concerned, there are not many of them that can cause huge distress to the body. Both Zantac and Prilosec are over-the-counter medicines that can be bought without any prescription. However, just like with any other medications, it is important to consult the doctor before starting a treatment course with Zantac or Prilosec.