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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Limited Use [what does this mean?]
Generic drug name: sucralfate (soo KRAL fate)
Brand name(s): CARAFATE
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Coating Agents
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy Warning

No valid data are available for sucralfate, as it was not tested properly in animal studies. Use during pregnancy only for clear medical reasons. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant before you take this drug.

Breast-Feeding Warning

No information is available from either human or animal studies. Since it is likely that this drug, like many others, is excreted in human milk, you should consult with your doctor if you are planning to nurse.

Safety Warnings For This Drug [top]

Nighttime Heartburn Treatments: Try These First

There are nondrug treatments, with no safety concerns, and less expensive drugs that may be effective for you; these should be tried before you use any drugs for heartburn. First, try to avoid foods that trigger your condition (e.g., fatty foods, onions, caffeine, peppermint, and chocolate), and avoid alcohol, smoking, and tight clothing.[1] Second, avoid food, and particularly alcohol, within two or three hours of bedtime. Third, elevate the head of the bed about six inches or sleep with extra pillows.

For both heartburn and ulcers, it is important to avoid drug-induced causes. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are known to cause ulcers. Ask your doctor if acetaminophen could be substituted for these drugs. Check with your doctor about the osteoporosis medications alendronate (FOSAMAX) and risedronate (ACTONEL), which irritate the esophagus.

If these measures are not effective, try simple over-the-counter (OTC) antacids such as a generic aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide product (MAALOX, MAALOX TC). If symptoms worsen or bleeding occurs, call your doctor. If this does not relieve your symptoms, one of the family of stomach acid–blocking drugs known as histamine2-blockers can be tried. This family includes cimetidine (TAGAMET), famotidine (PEPCID), nizatidine (AXID), and ranitidine (ZANTAC). Histamine2-blockers are available in both OTC and prescription strengths.

If the OTC histamine2-blockers do not give adequate relief of your symptoms after 14 days, it is time to consult your physician.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Sucralfate (CARAFATE) is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the duodenum, a part of the small intestine. After you take the drug, it forms a gummy substance that sticks to the ulcer. This protects the ulcer from stomach acid, allowing it to heal. You should not take sucralfate for minor digestive problems. Do not take sucralfate for more than 12 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. Sucralfate can cause constipation.

Regulatory actions surrounding this drug:

2010: In December 2010,...

Sucralfate (CARAFATE) is used to treat and prevent ulcers in the duodenum, a part of the small intestine. After you take the drug, it forms a gummy substance that sticks to the ulcer. This protects the ulcer from stomach acid, allowing it to heal. You should not take sucralfate for minor digestive problems. Do not take sucralfate for more than 12 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. Sucralfate can cause constipation.

Regulatory actions surrounding this drug:

2010: In December 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an update to the drug product information label for sucralfate, stating that close monitoring of blood glucose is recommended in diabetic patients using sucralfate suspension. This advisory was based on reports of episodes of hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes.[2]

2013:  In March 2013, the FDA updated the product label of sulcralfate to include information from postmarketing reports of hypersensitivity reactions in patients taking these products, including anaphylactic reactions, dyspnea, lip swelling, edema of the mouth, pharyngeal edema, pruritus, rash, swelling of the face and urticaria.[3]

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • allergies to drugs
  • intestinal obstruction
  • kidney failure
  • swallowing difficulty

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Call your doctor immediately if you have black, tarry stools or if you vomit material that looks like coffee grounds. These are signs of a bleeding ulcer.
  • Call your doctor if you have trouble swallowing or persistent abdominal pain.
  • Check with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke.
  • Avoid any food or drink that aggravates your ulcer.
  • Check with your doctor before taking any aspirin, ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs. These drugs can cause or aggravate ulcers.
  • If you take antacids for ulcer pain, do not do so closer than a half hour before or after the time you take sucralfate.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Take the full course of drug prescribed by your doctor.
  • Have regular checkups with your doctor to monitor progress.
  • Take on an empty stomach, at least one hour before meals, and at bedtime.
  • Do not chew tablets.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

The following drugs, biologics (e.g., vaccines, therapeutic antibodies), or foods are listed in Evaluations of Drug Interactions 2003 as causing “highly clinically significant” or “clinically significant” interactions when used together with any of the drugs in this section. In some sections with multiple drugs, the interaction may have been reported for one but not all drugs in this section, but we include the interaction because the drugs in this section are similar to one another. We have also included potentially serious interactions listed in the drug’s FDA-approved professional package insert or in published medical journal articles. There may be other drugs, especially those in the families of drugs listed below, that also will react with this drug to cause severe adverse effects. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist the drugs you are taking and tell them if you are taking any of these interacting drugs:

AVELOX, DILANTIN, moxifloxacin, norfloxacin, NOROXIN, phenytoin, SKELID, tiludronate, trovafloxacin, TROVAN.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • backache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • indigestion
  • mouth dry
  • nausea
  • skin rash, hives, or itching
  • stomach cramps or pain

Periodic Tests[top]

Ask your doctor which of these tests should be done periodically while you are taking this drug:

  • blood levels of aluminum if you have kidney failure, especially if you are taking aluminum-containing antacids

last reviewed March 31, 2021