The People's Perspective on Medicine

Sucralfate

Overview

Carafate is a unique anti-ulcer medication that appears to work in part by forming a protective layer over stomach sores and speeding healing.

It may also reduce some of the damage caused by irritating medicines such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory arthritis drugs.

Carafate can also be helpful in cases of severe heartburn called reflux esophagitis.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects associated with Carafate are uncommon. Some people have reported constipation, nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea, flatulence, and dry mouth.

Other potential adverse reactions include rash, itching, dizziness, sleepiness or insomnia, headache and back pain.

Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Be sure to contact the doctor immediately if you notice red or tar-black stools or vomit red or “coffee-ground-colored” material, as any of these symptoms could signal internal bleeding.

Carafate is capable of interacting with a number of other medications. It may reduce the absorption of antibiotics like Cipro, Floxin, Noroxin, Penetrex and tetracycline.

Carafate may also affect such drugs as Dilantin, Coumadin, Lanoxin, Tagamet and Cuprimine.

Check with your pharmacist and physician for special instructions and precautions before taking any other medication.

Special Precautions

Because aluminum makes up almost 20 percent of this compound, people with kidney disease or those who must rely on dialysis should be very cautious when taking Carafate.

Kidney problems predispose people to aluminum toxicity, so such patients should use this ulcer medicine or any aluminum-containing antacid judiciously and only under careful medical supervision.

Taking the Medicine

The manufacturer recommends that Carafate be taken on an empty stomach. That usually means at least an hour before meals or two hours after eating.

Antacids should not be taken at the same time you swallow Carafate.

If such additional products become necessary, wait at least 30 minutes after swallowing Carafate before taking the antacid.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I am currently on this medicine (for 2 weeks so far ) and I am experiencing several side effects including mild constipation, upset stomach, strong lower back pain and extreme dizziness. What other options are there?

I have been on sucralfate for 3 days and the nausea is getting worse. I don’t have ulcers just excess bile. This is definitely not the med for me.

Took this drug for 30 days a year ago for a bleeding ulcer after Omeprazole alone did not heal it. It did work and I had no apparent side effects. Now I am on it again after my ulcer returned about 6 mo. after stopping Omeprazole which I took for 6-7 mo. I have been back on both drugs for a little over a week and my blood pressure is up 30 points. Don’t know if it is related, but nothing else has changed.

Been on carafate for 30 days 4x a day, added A PPI Opraz, and my BP went up drastically at least 20 points. I quit both and it has been 2 days and BP is still high. How long did it take for your BP to get back to normal? This I know may have nothing to do with any of this, just asking.

I just started Carafate 2 days ago and also have bad diarrhea now… :( In fact, when I took it before bed last night I started feeling very uncomfortable in my stomach area (a burning sensation) and had to go to the bathroom twice. I didn’t sleep well at all due to digestive issues from it I’m sure.
I feel very nauseated today too. This medicine definitely doesn’t agree with me. Glad it helps so many others, but it’s not for me. Not sure why… I don’t like all the aluminum in it though either. That scares me.

Took Carafate and within 1 hour every time I take it I end up with diarrhea… Such a pain it helps with one problem and affects another. Anyone else with these issues??

Did you get any responses in 2012? I break the carafate generic tablet in half, or even in quarters to lessen nausea, which can occur. I use sucralfate, the generic, as the new carafate seems to pucker my stomach it is so strong! It soothes. It does not cause diarrhea for me, but seems to regulate GI functions in a positive way. Also, you don’t necessarily have to take on empty stomach – I take when my schedule or discomfort permit. With or without food. I guess it would inhibit full absorption of food nutrition though.

I am currently taking Carafate and have been since November, 2011, so far, I have no problems. I take it once a day and sometimes at bed time if needed. My doctor wanted me to take it 3 times a day but I don’t need it that often.

This drug helped me to prevent effects of tightness in the chest and cough
due to stomach hernia, but caused severe backpain (especially in the area of my kidneys).
I stopped it, pain passed. When I started again at reduced dose (1 hour before going to bed) pain came back. So I stopped it completely, and I am
pain free now.

I am concerned about systemic effects of the aluminum in Carafate. We are being told aluminum affects the brain adversely. What about it?

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