Many people with GERD want to know if there’s a difference between prescription Prilosec and the over-the-counter version.

I took this question to Akram Alashari, MD, abdominal surgeon and critical care physician, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Florida.

Dr. Alashari says, “This is a relatively challenging question. I asked my department’s clinical pharmacist and I did some research to find the answer. Apparently, there doesn’t seem to be a difference in the drug itself.

However, there is a difference in the indication for administration.”

Dr. Alashari describes the following as approved uses by GERD sufferers for Prilosec as a prescription (there’s no difference in the chemical makeup of prescription Prilosec and the OTV version):

Can be used up to four weeks to treat heartburn and its associated symptoms.

Can be used four to eight weeks to treat endoscopically-diagnosed erosive esophagitis.

The drug has other indications not related to GERD.

The prescription version usually is of a higher dose per pill than the OTC Prilosec.