Difference Between Prilosec and Prilosec OTC

Although Prilosec and Prilosec OTC is the same drug, there is a slight difference between the two. Prilosec or Prilosec OTC, both are coming under the drug class category of proton pump inhibitors. Proton pumps are situated in mitochondrial membranes; which means that they are in almost all cells. The importance of these drugs is that they selectively inhibit proton pumps in the stomach lining. The mechanism of action is to selectively inhibit H+/K+ ATPase enzyme in gastric parietal cells. 


Prilosec is also known by the trade name Zegerid. The generic name for Prilosec is Omeprazole. It is a proton pump inhibitor. This drug is prescribed to treat complications related to excessive acid secretion in the stomach such as damage to esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At times, it is also prescribed along with antibiotics to treat stomach ulcers arising due to Helicobactor pylori infections. This drug cannot render immediate relief from heartburns. Prilosec tablet should be taken 30 minutes before meals. The pill should be swallowed as a whole without chewing because it may damage the coating which is designed to protect the stomach. Granular suspension should only be taken with apple juice. Sometimes the granular suspension is delivered through nasogastric feeding tube.

There are a number of harmful effects of Prilosec. Animal studies have shown chronic usage may cause stomach cancers although it is not confirmed with humans up to date. Tendency to increase bone fracture in hips, wrists, and spine is also found through clinical studies. Long term usage has shown to decrease the Vitamin B12 absorption and, therefore, cause B12 deficiency. Apart from all the harmful effects, Prilosec also has various side effects associated. Uneven and fast heart rate, muscle weakness, diarrhea, coughing and choking, headache and troubles in memory are some of the serious side effects. In addition weight change, stomach pain, insomnia is also experienced. Prilosec / Omeprazole should not be taken if one is allergic to the drug. It should not be taken while a person is taking other benzimidazole drugs. If a person is taking HIV AIDS medicine, ampicillin, blood thinner, water pills, iron tablets, and diabetes medicine, it is important to seek medical advice before taking Prilosec/Omeprazole.

Prilosec OTC

Prilosec OTC is the same drug as Prilosec. There is absolutely no difference when it comes to the chemical nature of the drug. However, the additional “OTC” makes the slight difference between the two forms. OTC stands for Over-The-Counter which means a person can buy Prilosec OTC from a pharmacist without any prescription. The normal Prilosec could only be obtained if it is prescribed by a certified doctor.

What is the difference between Prilosec and Prilosec OTC?

• Prilosec and Prilosec OTC are the same drug when consider their chemical nature.

• Prilosec (Prescription Prilosec) could only be obtained if prescribed, but Prilosec OTC could be obtained “Over the counter” without and prescription provided. (OTC stands for Over-the-counter)

• Prilosec has a higher dosage and is quite stronger compared to Prilosec OTC, which has a lower dosage than Prescription Prilosec.