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Coating Agents Carafate and Cytotec for Gastritis Treatment

Stomach upset, heartburn, and gnawing and burning pain in the upper abdomen, which worsens or, on the contrary, improves during eating, may all be the warning signs of the potential problem inside the stomach. This problem is called gastritis, which is, in fact, a group of disorders, when the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed. If left untreated, gastritis may result in ulcers development.

As a matter of fact, gastritis or inflammation occurs when the coating layer, which protects cells of the stomach lining from the influence of gastric acid, becomes damaged. In the majority of cases, such damages are caused by specific bacteria, called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or regular use of pain relievers, namely non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and others.

Happily, modern medicinal science provides enough solutions for reducing the risks of gastritis and even gastric ulcers. One of the approaches to do that is to take coating agents or anti-ulcer medications, such as Carafate and Cytotec. The latter, by the way, was designed to work specifically in order to reduce the risks of NSAIDs-induced ulcers. Thus, Cytotec is recommended to people, who need to take pain killers regularly to control some chronic conditions, like arthritis.

Though Carafate and Cytotec work to achieve the same goals, there are certain specific differences between these medications. So, the key features of both medications will be outlined below.


Cytotec with misoprostol as the working ingredient is a medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1988 as the medicinal option to prevent NSAIDs-induced stomach ulcers. It is crucially important to note here that misoprostol has also another indication – in some countries the medications is used to induce labor or in the role of abortifacient. Hence, Cytotec or its generic form should never be taken by pregnant women, since it may lead to very serious consequences, like abortion, premature birth, or birth defects.

Specific anti-ulcers properties of Cytotec are usually explained by the ability of the medication to suppress stomach acid production. Besides, Cytotec protects stomach lining from damage by increasing the thickness of the gel protective layer in the stomach (that is why the medication is sometimes called “coating agent”).

The effectiveness of Cytotec to prevent NSAIDs-induced gastric ulcers was proved by several clinical studies. According to them, the medication may practically exclude the risk of ulcers formation in people, taking NSAIDs along with Cytotec. However, the drug is effective only against stomach ulcers; Cytotec is not able to prevent duodenal or intestinal ulcers.

Cytotec is generally well tolerated – the most common side effects are nausea, flatulence, headache, dyspepsia, vomiting and constipation. However, the overdose is possible with serious consequences, like sedation, tremor, convulsions, breathing difficulties and liver damage. That is why one should take Cytotec strictly according to doctor’s prescriptions, and usually not more than for 4 weeks.

Besides, one should not forget about the affect of Cytotec on pregnant women. The warning against Cytotec use by this group of patients is the key precaution, indicated in the drug label.


This medication, approved by the FDA in 1981, is also used to prevent ulcers. However, unlike the previously described Cytotec, Carafate works to help heal duodenal or intestinal ulcers. Besides, the medication can be of help for relieving GERD symptoms, treating throat ulcers and prevention of stress ulcers and stomach bleeding.

The active ingredient of Carafate is called sucralfate. It works mainly in the gastrointestinal tract without being absorbed into the bloodstream. The medication binds to hydrochloric acid in the stomach and forms a specific paste-like material or acid buffer, which works like a shield against gastric acid, bile and pepsin. When such shield is formed, damaged lining of the stomach as well as the existing ulcers receive a chance to heal naturally.

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Carafate is usually taken 2-4 times per day on an empty stomach. The single dose of the medication forms a protective shield, lasting for about 6-8 hours. The side effects, associated with Carafate use, are usually minimal. The most common one is constipation. Sometimes, diarrhea, nausea, upset stomach and indigestion may appear.

So, both Cytotec and Carafate are the representatives of the group of medications, which work in the digestive system of humans, where they can suppress the production of stomach acid and protect the lining of the stomach and intestines from damages and even ulcers. People, who take NSAID pain killers regularly and need to reduce their risks of ulcers formation, are recommended to consider Cytotec prescription. Those, who suffer from duodenal or intestinal ulcers, should consider Carafate.


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