It’s pretty unusual for any drug to be hailed as ‘the people’s champion’, but that’s the claim being made for lansoprazole, an anti ulcer treatment marketed in the UK as Zoton and in the US as Prevacid.
To back this claim, the marketers explain that ‘more doctors are turning to Zoton. . .Zoton is now on 85 per cent of UK hospital formularies.’ So for ‘people’s champion’ read ‘doctors’ champion.’ And the reason why doctors are turning to it is because, after just two weeks of treatment, Zoton ‘relieves significantly more symptoms than omeprazole’.
Zoton is designed to treat gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or duodenal ulcer. It is also designed to treat reflux like symptoms, such as heartburn.
As such, it’s a little surprising it is so successful among doctors, particularly following the discovery of the ulcer causing H pylori bug. To be fair, it has been tested as a dual therapy with an antibiotic, and has been effective in treating the bug, and in preventing its recurrence.
Similarly, it’s been a successful treatment for heartburn, but terms involving words such as ‘sledgehammer’ and ‘nut’ come to mind, particularly when you look at the litany of possible side effects. Ironically these include gastro intestinal disturbances (that’s right, the very thing it is supposedly treating), headache, dizziness, malaise, taste disturbances, headache and dizziness.
More serious, but rarer, reactions have included myalgia, depression, hallucinations, vertigo, jaundice, hepatitis, impotence, hair thinning, and blurred vision.
Serious skin reactions are also rare, but have included rashes, says the manufacturer.
As usual, nursing mothers and children should not be taking the drug.