Omeprazole, a drug sold under the brand name is Prilosec, is a medication used to suppress the production of acid in the stomach. Omeprazole is classified as a proton pump inhibitor and is indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn due to gastroesophageal disease and for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers. Omeprazole is also used to treat a stomach acid hypersecretory condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Omeprazole may damage the liver in several ways.
According to Drugs.com, omeprazole may cause hepatitis or the inflammation of the liver. Omeprazole is metabolized in the liver. The liver breaks down omeprazole into products that can easily be removed from the body by the kidneys. Exposure of the liver to omeprazole may cause damage to liver cells leading to the inflammation of the liver. According to Netdoctor.co.uk, early signs of hepatitis include fatique, malaise, nausea, decreased appetite, swollen abdomen due to enlarged liver, skin rash and muscle ache. Omeprazole use should be discontinued to allow the liver to heal.
Drugs.com states that use of omeprazole may affect the functioning of the biliary stystem. According to the National Institutes of Health, the biliary system includes the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts inside the liver, and bile ducts outside the liver. The biliary system is important in the production of bile, which is a liquid important in the digestion of fats and lips. Omeprazole impairs the normal flow of bile and leads this leads to yellowing of the eyes and skin, biliary pain, gall bladder pain, gall bladder inflammation and bile stones.
Liver failure is the inability of the liver to perform its metabolic functions. According to Drugs.com, long-term use of omeprazole may completely destroy the liver by causing scarring of liver tissue. Some patients may experience immediate acute liver failure after taking omeprazole. Liver failure is irreversible and requires liver transplant. Signs of acute liver failure include dark urine, clay colored stool, itching, yellowing of the skin and eyes, enlarged abdomen, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.