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Money-saving Alternatives to Prilosec and Protonix

Since the introduction of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), these medications have gained a reputation of the most effective remedies for the conditions, such as ulcers, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, etc. Being highly effective in suppressing the production of gastric acid in the human digestive tract, PPIs have quickly gained wide popularity and generated billions of dollars in sales. Prilosec, one of the brand name proton pump inhibitors, remained at the top of the best-selling medications in the USA through 1997 to 2000. More about proton pump inhibitors is available at the article “Weapon Against Heartburn and GERD”.

However, time changes, and now people make additional demands to medications along with high effectiveness and safety. These days, a reasonable price for pills also belongs to the most crucial aspects of therapy. With $5.4 per one pill of Prilosec, or about $4.4 for Protonix, which is another popular PPIs, it is naturally that people are interested in cheaper options, which would allow to reduce the total cost of the treatment.

The legal and widely accepted way to reduce the cost of medications is the production of generic versions of brand-name pills after the expiration of the patent on those medications. In the USA, generic medications undergo the procedure of approval by the Food and Drug Administration, which requires the generics to be produced in strict accordance with some rules:

-         generics should contain exactly the same active ingredient as the brand name drugs (the variations are allowed only for the inactive ingredients);

-         generic medications should be exactly the same in strength, dosage, route of administration and indications as the brand name products;

-         generics should be bioequivalent to brand name pills, which means they should work in the human organism in the same way.

Speaking about Prilosec as one of the leading PPI drugs, the first generic versions have been authorized by the FDA in 2002. Since all the generics are named after the active ingredient – generic alternatives to Prilosec are called OMEPRAZOLE. So, if you would like to try some money saving alternative to Prilosec, you should ask your doctor for a prescription of omeprazole. The prices for these medications are about $0.71 per one pill, or even $0.45 per one pill of omeprazole from Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Protonix is another brand-name proton pump inhibitor, introduced to the market in 2000 (10 years after the appearance of Prilosec). Though its initial patent expired in 2005, it has been extended until 2010. However, since 2007 generic versions to Protonix are still available on the market under the name PANTOPRAZOLE. The alternatives, which cost slightly less than the brand-name pills (about $3.63 for generic pill vs $4.46 for brand name), are produced by Teva, Sun Pharm and Kudco. It is also worthy to mention that in comparison to other PPIs, Protonix is considered to be less effective medication (see the summarized comparison of PPIs).

Finally, while discussing the options to reduce the expenses on gastritis, GERD or ulcers treatment with PPIs, it is impossible to overlook the fact that in 2003 the FDA approved the over-the-counter version of Prilosec. This medication offers several significant benefits:

-         first, it is the same medication as the prescription Prilosec (the difference is that while OTC is available only in 20mg dosage, the prescription form can contain 40mg of omeprazole);

-         second, the price of Prilosec OTC is usually about $27 per package with 42 tablets (compared to about $160 per 30 pills of prescription Prilosec), which gives about $0.64 as the cost of one pill;

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-         third, Prilosec OTC is available over-the-counter without any prescription. (read more on Prilosec OTC)

So, as one can see – choosing generic alternatives to popular PPIs, one can significantly reduce the total cost of treatment without compromising effectiveness of safety of the therapy. Besides, if your condition is not severe or persistent – you can definitely grab a package of Prilosec OTC in order to pacify the acid in the stomach.


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