Sucralfate side effects tend to be mild and will often go away eventually on their own or with minimal intervention. The most common problem is constipation. Development of bezoar stones, which are masses that can appear anywhere in the gastrointestinal system, are typical effects as well. Some patients also report feeling dizzy or as if they are whirling.
Most patients who develop bezoars as a result of taking sucralfate are predisposed to the condition based on other contributing factors. Individuals who have had or are still receiving concomitant enteral tube feedings are at a risk of growing the masses. Any condition that delays emptying of the gastric system is also at a higher risk.
Other less common sucralfate side effects include excessive gas, indigestion, and dry mouth. Some patients also experience uncharacteristic tiredness or insomnia. There have been reports of back pain, vertigo, and headaches as well.
More serious sucralfate side effects should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible. These include vomiting or coughing up bright red matter with the consistency of coffee grounds. Red or black stools are also problematic. Any signs of an allergic reaction to the drug, including swelling in the areas from the neck up, breathing problems, hives, and tightness in the chest, should receive immediate medical attention.
Many common sucralfate side effects can be lessened or avoided with proper diet. Eating high-fiber foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables can cut down on gas and constipation. Lots of fluid consumption, with an emphasis on pure water, can also be beneficial.
Sucralfate provides a protective lining for the stomach from potentially irritating elements such as acid and enzymes so that injured parts of the area can heal. It is most commonly used to treat ulcers. The drug may also be prescribed to chemotherapy patients in order to shield the stomach from the effects of aspirin used to treat mouth sores related to the treatment.
The drug comes in liquid and tablet form. It is typically prescribed for several weeks so that the stomach has time to heal. The most common dosage is four times a day, before bedtime and about an hour before meals.
There are some conditions which may make taking sucralfate too risky, or at least require an adjusted dosage or special doctor observation during treatment. Diabetes and kidney or heart disease can be problematic. Women who are nursing or pregnant are typically advised not to take the drug. Sucralfate may also have an adverse reaction with anticoagulants and antacids.