QUESTION: I have had abdominal discomfort (upset stomach) for over 3 months and my doctor prescribed Protonix(Pantoprazole) and said to take it 8-12 weeks, in case I have an ulcer or gastritis. I would hate to take it for that long if that's not even the problem. If that's what I in fact have and it works, how long would it take to start seeing at least some improvement?   Thank you


Symptoms should improve within a few days of commencing, but if the underlying problem is an ulcer or gastritis, they are likely to return if treatment is not taken for long enough.

If it is an ulcer, a single longer course will probably produce better long term healing than short bursts of treatment which largely allay symptoms, but do not produce a healing environment for long enough.

Compare to how long you have already suffered, or having a life-long medical problem which requires continuous medication, a few weeks ulcer-healing therapy isn't really something to be worried about.

I hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I agree with all you say, but I failed to mention I have been taking this for one week and the symptoms haven't really improved. I will of course talk to my doctor, but in your opinion, would it make sense to continue it for much longer, say more than another week or two, if it hasn't already begun to show  any signs that it is working? Thank you


I would expect noticeable improvement (assuming contributing factors have also been addressed e.g. diet) within 2-3 weeks, but it does depend on the severity of the problem.

Not surprisingly, it sounds as though your doctor is treating the problem symptomatically in the hope that there will be no need for further investigation, such as endoscopy.

By all means talk to your doctor, but do realise that problems that develop over time, also need time to recover. Regrettably, drug therapy is not as fast acting or powerful as many would wish.

Hopefully you will feel better soon.


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Nigel Simmons


I am happy to answer general questions on medicines and hospital care. If possible, please use approved / chemical names rather than brands which are not internationally recognised. Like all health professionals I am bound by a duty of care which prevents me giving detailed information about medication or treatment of people other than the questioner. I will endeavour to help wherever possible or point towards more appropriate advice. If however your question crosses too far into patient confidentiality, I hope you will understand why I cannot answer your question. Consider.. would you want me to discuss your care with a friend or relative without your knowledge?


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