Sucralfate (Oral)

Carafate is only available with a doctor's prescription and it comes in the form of a tablet and oral suspension.

Overview:

Sucralfate belongs to a class of medicines known as gastroduodenal cytoprotective agents. It is used in the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers as well as prevention of duodenal ulcers. The solution form of Carafate also helps to prevent bleeding caused by stress ulcers in critically ill people. It works by creating a coating above the ulcer, which protects against stomach acid, allowing the ulcer to heal.

Your doctor may recommend Sucralfate for other conditions not mentioned in this drug information guide. In addition, some forms of Sucralfate may not help treat all the conditions discussed in this guide. If you haven't discussed Carafate with your doctor or aren't sure why you're using this medicine, speak to him or her. Don't stop taking Carafate without your physician's knowledge.

Don't give Sucralfate to anybody else, even if they're exhibiting symptoms like yours. It may be harmful to anyone to take Sucralfate if their healthcare provider hasn't prescribed it.

Conditions treated:

  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Sclerotherapy-related esophageal ulcers
  • Mouth and gums inflammation
  •  Stress ulcer prevention

Type of medicine:

  • Antiulcer

Side effects:

Many drugs can bring about side effects. The side effects may be lasting or temporary, mild or severe. The side effects enumerated below aren't felt by everyone who uses Carafate. If you're worried about these side effects, talk about the benefits as well as risks of Carafate with your doctor.

The following Sucralfate side effects were reported by around 1% of people taking the drug. Many of the effects can be controlled, and some may gradually vanish on their own.

Contact your physician right away if you feel these effects and they are bothersome and severe. Your pharmacist should be able to suggest ways to manage the side effects.

  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Itching, hives, or skin rash

While most of the effects listed below rarely occur, they could result in serious issues if you don't seek treatment or see your doctor.

See your doctor immediately if any of these effects happen:

Convulsions (seizures)

Some people may feel side effects different to the ones listed above. See your physician if you experience any symptom that bothers you while taking Sucralfate.

Dosage:

To treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, adults should take 1 tablet (1 gram or 5 ml of solution) 4 times a day, on an empty stomach, at bedtime and 60 minutes before meals. In some cases, your doctor can suggest taking 2 tablets (2 grams or 10 ml of liquid) two times daily on an empty stomach. Treatment is normally for 6-12 weeks.

To prevent duodenal ulcers, adults should take 1 tablet (1 gram or 5 milliliters of liquid) twice daily, on an empty stomach. Treatment can go on for as long as 1 year.

To prevent bleeding caused by stress ulcers in critically ill patients, adults should take 1 tablet or 5 ml of the solution 4-6 times a day. Treatment normally takes no more than 2 weeks.

For the oral suspension of Sucralfate, shake properly before use.

Many things may affect the dose of Sucralfate you need, such as other medications, other medical conditions, and body weight. If your doctor recommends a different dose of Carafate, don't change your way of taking Carafate without letting your doctor know.

It is vital to take Sucralfate exactly as ordered by your physician. If you've missed a dose, make sure to take it immediately and go on with your usual schedule. If your next Carafate dose is approaching, skip the one you missed and follow your usual dosing schedule. Don't take extra doses to compensate for missed doses. If you've missed a dose and are unsure of what to do, seek advice from your pharmacist and doctor.

Interactions:

An interaction usually means that one medication may decrease or increase another drug's effect. In addition, the more drugs you take, the more the possibility that there'll be a medication interaction. It's advisable to take other drugs at least an hour before using Sucralfate, as it may hinder the absorption of other medications.

Interactions with Sucralfate can happen with the following medications:

  • Antacids (Mylanta, Maalox)
  • Tetracycline (Achromycin)
  • Blood thinners (Coumadin)
  • Ofloxacin (Floxin)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Enoxacin (Penetrex)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin)
  • Norfloxacin (Noroxin)
  • Quinidine (Quinaglute)

If you're using any of the above drugs, speak to your doctor and pharmacist. Based on your specific situation, your doctor can order you to:

  • Stop using one of the drugs
  • Swap one of the medicines for another
  • Change how you're using both or one of the drugs
  • Not change anything

Other medications not listed above can interact with Sucralfate. Tell your prescriber or doctor about all medicines you're using, for example over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal medicines. Also inform them if you're using any supplements. Since street drugs, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes can interact with many medicines and change how they work, you should inform your prescriber or doctor if you take them.

Warnings:

Before you start using any medication, make sure to let your physician know of any allergies or medical conditions you have, whether you're pregnant or nursing a child, any medicines you're using, and any other essential information about your health. The factors mentioned can affect how you use Sucralfate.

Dialyzed patients/chronic kidney failure—Carafate should be used carefully by patients with chronic kidney disease (or dialyzed patients). When Carafate is taken orally, small quantities of aluminum from the wall of the stomach are absorbed. This can cause aluminum accumulation. If you have normal kidney function, your risk for this problem is low. People with damaged kidney function must exercise caution when taking other medications containing aluminum (such as some antacids) while also taking Sucralfate.

Allergies—people with asthma or certain allergies may be at a higher risk of an allergic reaction to any new medicine. Please let your physician know about your history of allergies. An allergic reaction may have signs such as skin rash, itching, or hives. Of course, you shouldn't use Carafate if you've previously had a reaction to it or a similar medication.

Diabetes—people suffering from diabetes have reported high levels of blood sugar while using Sucralfate because its liquid form has carbohydrate. If you have diabetes, it's vital that you monitor your blood sugar while using the suspension form of Sucralfate.

General—since Sucralfate doesn't treat the original cause of ulcers, your ulcer may reappear after Sucralfate treatment.

Pregnancy—Sucralfate shouldn't be taken during pregnancy unless it's absolutely necessary. If you fall pregnant while taking Sucralfate, make sure to contact your primary healthcare provider immediately.

Children—the effectiveness and safety of using Sucralfate has not yet been determined for kids and teenagers younger than 18. It's recommended that everyone in this age group avoids taking Sucralfate.

Long-term use of Sucralfate can interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins K, E, D, and A. Be sure to talk about this with your doctor.

It is vitally important that your doctor assesses your progress on a regular basis to ensure that Carafate is working as well as it should and to check for adverse effects.

Sucralfate can cause blood to clot in your brain or lungs when it is administered through an IV into your vein. This might be potentially fatal and will require immediate treatment. Sucralfate should only be taken orally (by mouth).

Since using Sucralfate can affect your levels of blood sugar, see your doctor as soon as you experience increased urination or increased thirst. If you notice your urine has changed or your blood sugar levels have changed, check with your physician. If you have any questions, see your doctor.

Storage:

Keep Sucralfate at room temperature, i.e. between 20-25 degrees C.

Keep Sucralfate away from moisture and direct light.

Don't keep Sucralfate in your bathroom.

Keep Sucralfate far away from your children and pets.

Don't flush Sucralfate or similar medicines down your toilet or dump them in the drain unless your doctor tells you to.

Properly dispose of Sucralfate when you don't need it anymore or it's expired.

Consult your waste disposal firm or pharmacist for more information about how to dispose of Sucralfate safely.

Summary:

Follow all instructions given on the package and medicine label. Tell all your healthcare professionals about all your allergies, medical conditions, as well as all medications you use.

Avoid using any other drugs within a couple of hours prior to and after taking Sucralfate. This medication can interfere with your body's ability to absorb other medicines you take orally.

Don't use antacids without seeking your doctor's advice. Only use the antacid that your doctor recommends. Certain antacids may make it more difficult for Carafate to work in the stomach. If your physician recommends that you use an antacid, don't take it within half an hour before or after using Sucralfate.

If you have allergies to Sucralfate, don't take it.

To ensure that Carafate is safe for use, notify your physician if you have diabetes, trouble swallowing tablets, or kidney failure (or if you're on dialysis).

Sucralfate usually does not harm the fetus. However, notify your doctor if you're having a baby or intend to get pregnant during treatment.

It is not clear whether Carafate is secreted in a mother's milk or if it might affect a nursing baby. If you're nursing an infant, please tell your doctor.

Use Carafate for the entire time it has been prescribed. Your symptoms may ease before your ulcer is fully healed.

Sucralfate treatment is required for 6-8 weeks to cure an active ulcer of the duodenum. Sucralfate use after 8 weeks must be approved by your doctor.

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Last Reviewed:
December 25, 2017
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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