Aciphex (Rabeprazole) — Oral

What Is Aciphex?

Aciphex is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), duodenal ulcers, and other conditions that cause excess production of stomach acid, including Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Aciphex is a proton pump inhibitor. It relieves and treats certain stomach and esophageal problems by decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Aciphex is available as an enteric-coated delayed-release tablet and a delayed-released sprinkle capsule. The sprinkle capsules are only used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in children ages 1 to 11 years of age.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Rabeprazole

Brand Name(s): Aciphex

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Proton pump inhibitor

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Administration Route: Oral

Active Ingredient: Rabeprazole sodium

Dosage Form(s): Oral tablet (enteric-coated, delayed release), oral sprinkle capsule (delayed-release)

What Is Aciphex Used For?

Aciphex is a prescription medication used to treat the symptoms of the following conditions:

How to Take Aciphex

How much, how long, and when you take Aciphex will depend on what condition your healthcare provider has prescribed it to treat. Take Aciphex by mouth as your healthcare provider prescribes. Do not take more than directed.

Aciphex delayed-release tablets:

  • Swallow Aciphex delayed-release tablets whole. Do not chew, crush, or split tablets.
  • For treating duodenal ulcers, take tablets by mouth after a meal.
  • For treating Helicobacter pylori, take tablets by mouth with food.
  • For all other conditions, tablets can be taken by mouth with or without food.
  • For the treatment of GERD (acid reflux) symptoms, the tablets work best when taken by mouth 30 minutes to one hour before the first meal of the day.

Aciphex delayed-release sprinkle capsules:

  • Do not swallow the capsule whole.
  • Open one capsule and sprinkle the entire contents on a small amount of soft food (e.g., applesauce, fruit, vegetable-based baby food, or yogurt) or empty contents into a small amount of liquid (e.g., infant formula, apple juice, or pediatric electrolyte solution). Food or liquid should be at or below room temperature.
  • Ensure the child swallows the mixture without chewing or crushing the granules.
  • Take the mixture by mouth within 15 minutes of preparation and 30 minutes before a meal.

Storage

Aciphex should be stored in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Keep your medications out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.

If you plan to travel with Aciphex, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. In general, be sure to make a copy of your Aciphex prescription. Try to keep your medication in its original container from your pharmacy with your name on the label. If you have any questions about traveling with your medicine, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Discard all unused and expired drugs, but do not pour them down the drain or in the toilet. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best ways to dispose of this medicine. And check out medication take-back programs in your area.

How Long Does Aciphex Take to Work?

Aciphex begins to decrease the production of stomach acid after one hour of taking the medication by mouth. Based on a multi-center, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group clinical study, once-daily dosing of Aciphex was a superior treatment for duodenal ulcers compared to ranitidine with improvement in symptoms and healing at three-day, two-week, and four-week treatment intervals.

What Are the Side Effects of Aciphex?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or you think you have a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term effects of Aciphex including cardiovascular events are lacking.

Report Side Effects

Aciphex may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Aciphex Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (delayed-release capsules):
    • To treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
      • Children 1 to 11 years of age and weighing 15 kilograms (kg) or more—10 milligrams (mg) once a day.
      • Children 1 to 11 years of age and weighing less than 15 kg—5 mg once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children younger than 1 year of age—Use is not recommended.
  • For oral dosage form (delayed-release tablets):
    • To treat duodenal ulcers:
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) once a day after the morning meal for up to 4 weeks. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • To treat duodenal ulcers with H. pylori infection:
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) taken with a meal 2 times a day for 7 days. The dose is usually taken together with amoxicillin and clarithromycin.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • To treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) once a day for up to 4 weeks. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children 12 years of age and older—20 mg once a day for up to 8 weeks. Your child's doctor may adjust the dose as needed.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.
    • To prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD):
      • Adults—20 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • To treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome:
      • Adults—At first, 60 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose if needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Adults over 65 years: People over the age of 65 years shouldn't take Aciphex longer than eight weeks due to risk of Clostridioides difficile infection and bone loss and fractures. There are exceptions for people at high risk (when benefits outweigh the risks).

Pregnancy or breastfeeding: There's not enough scientific evidence to tell whether there would be a risk to your fetus when used during pregnancy, or to your child during breastfeeding. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, please talk with your healthcare provider before starting Aciphex.

Children: The sprinkle capsules are only used for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease in children 1 to 11 years of age. Aciphex shouldn't be used in children under the age of 1.

Missed Dose

If you miss your dose of Aciphex take the dose as soon as you remember.  If it's almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

Overdose: What Happens if I Take Too Much Aciphex?

So far, there have been seven reports of accidental overdosage with rabeprazole. The maximum reported overdose was 80 milligrams (mg). There were no clinical signs or symptoms associated with any reported overdose of Aciphex. People with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome have been treated daily with up to 120 milligrams (mg) of rabeprazole. No specific antidote for rabeprazole is known. In the event of overdosage, treatment should be symptomatic and supportive.

What Happens if I Overdose on Aciphex?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Aciphex, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Aciphex, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if this medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it. Blood, urine, and other laboratory tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Do not use rabeprazole together with medicines containing rilpivirine (eg, Complera®, Edurant®, Odefsey®).

Check with your doctor right away if you have a change in frequency of urination or amount of urine, blood in the urine, fever, joint pain, loss of appetite, skin rash, swelling of the body or feet and ankles, unusual tiredness or weakness, or unusual weight gain. These may be symptoms of a serious kidney problem called acute tubulointerstitial nephritis.

This medicine may cause diarrhea, and in some cases it can be severe. Do not take any medicine to treat diarrhea without first checking with your doctor. If you have any questions or if mild diarrhea continues or gets worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may increase your risk of having fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine. This is more likely if you take several doses per day or use it for 1 year or more. Call your doctor right away if you have severe bone pain or are unable to walk or sit normally.

Cutaneous or systemic lupus erythematosus may occur or gets worse in lupus patients and are taking PPI. Call your doctor right away if you have a joint pain or skin rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse when exposed in the sun.

This medicine may cause hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood). Your doctor may check your blood levels if you are taking this medicine for more than 1 year or if you are taking certain medicines together with rabeprazole. Check with your doctor right away if you have drowsiness, a loss of appetite, mood or mental changes, muscle spasms or twitching, seizures, nausea, vomiting, trembling, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may increase your risk for fundic gland polyps (abnormal tissue growth in the upper part of your stomach). This is more likely if you are receiving this medicine for more than 1 year. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Aciphex?

You should not take Aciphex if you have one of the following:

  • A known allergic reaction to rabeprazole sodium, substituted benzimidazoles, or any of its ingredients
  • Are currently taking any medications or products that contain rilpivirine

Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients in Aciphex to clarify whether you may be allergic to any of them.

Please let your healthcare provider know if you have kidney disease, liver disease, lupus, osteoporosis, blood clotting problems, or vitamin B12 deficiency because taking Aciphex may make your condition worse.

What Other Medications Interact With Aciphex?

While taking this medication, be sure to ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal or plant-based medicines.

All proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) including rabeprazole sodium delayed-release capsules are contraindicated with rilpivirine-containing products. Some medicines can affect how Aciphex works. Tell your healthcare provider if you are using any of the following:

  • Atazanavir
  • Blood thinners (including warfarin)
  • Cyclosporine
  • Dasatinib
  • Digoxin
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Erlotinib
  • Iron supplements
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Methotrexate
  • Mycophenolate mofetil
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nilotinib
  • Saquinavir
  • Tacrolimus

What Medications Are Similar?

Other proton pump inhibitors like Aciphex include:

  • Dexlansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Omeprazole
  • Pantoprazole

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Aciphex used for?

    Aciphex is used to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), duodenal ulcers, and other conditions that cause excessive production of stomach acid such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

  • How does Aciphex work?

    Aciphex is a proton pump inhibitor that relieves and treats specific stomach and esophageal problems by decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach.

  • What population is recommended to only use Aciphex sprinkle capsules?

    Children ages 1 to 11 years of age with GERD. Children under the age of 1 should not use Aciphex.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Aciphex?

While taking Aciphex, it is essential to avoid certain foods that may irritate your stomach or worsen your condition. These include spicy, greasy, fatty, or acidic foods like tomatoes or tomato products. It may also help avoid carbonated beverages, coffee, and alcohol, which can irritate your stomach. You can also take smaller bites, chew slower, and eat smaller meals when eating.

If you feel that you need additional support with figuring out your food or nutrition, be sure to ask your healthcare provider to connect you with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RD or RDN). RDs can help you explore possible food triggers and support building healthier habits through food, movement, medication, and more.

Continue to follow up with your healthcare provider to ensure your success with the treatment of your disease.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Aciphex Label.

  2. Breiter JR, Riff D, Humphries TJ. Rabeprazole is superior to ranitidine in the management of active duodenal ulcer disease: results of a double-blind, randomized North American studyAm J Gastroenterology. 2000;95(4):936-942. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2000.01933.x.

  3. Fujishiro M, Higuchi K, Kato M, et al. Long-term efficacy and safety of rabeprazole in patients taking low-dose aspirin with a history of peptic ulcers: a phase 2/3, randomized, parallel-group, multicenter, extension clinical trialJ Clin Biochem Nutr. 2015;56(3):228-239.