Difference Between Prilosec and Zantac


Available in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths, Prilosec and Zantac are the brand names of the medications omerprazole and ranitidine, respectively. Despite the fact that both are used to treat heartburn and symptoms of acid reflux, Prilosec and Zantac have many differences.


  • Zantac is known as a H2 blocker, a class of drug that decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach by blocking the work of receptors that trigger acid production. Prisolec interrupts acid production later in the process by blocking already-produced acid from being secreted.


  • In addition to treating ulcers, heartburn, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and esophageal erosion, prescription Prilosec also is approved for use in treating a rare condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which causes the stomach to produce too much acid. Zantac is not used for this purpose.

Time Frame

  • For any condition, prescription-strength Prilosec typically is given for 12 weeks or less. Zantac sometimes is used for up to a year as a maintenance treatment to prevent the return of ulcers and esophageal erosion, RxList.com reports.

Dosage and Appearance

  • Prescription-strength Prioslec comes in 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg capsules that are either apricot and deep purple in color or entirely purple, with 'Prisolec' and the dosage number written on one end of the capsule. Prescription-strength Zantac 150 mg is a peach-colored, pentagonal tablet, and the 300 mg variety is a yellow, capsule-shaped tablet.


  • Prescription-strength Prisolec has the potential to speed up the growth of stomach tumors, but Zantac has not been shown to have this effect, RxList.com reports. Infrequently, use of prescription-strength Zantac results in a build-up of chemicals called porphyrins in the bloodstream, causing abdominal pain, light sensitivity, seizures and mental disturbances.

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