Generic name: Esomeprazole magnesiumBrand names: Nexium
Nexium relieves heartburn and other symptoms caused by the backflow of stomach acid into the canal to the stomach (the esophagus)—a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is also prescribed to heal the damage (erosive esophagitis) that reflux disease can cause.
Prescribed in combination with the antibiotics amoxicillin and clarithromycin, Nexium is also used to treat the infection that causes most duodenal ulcers (ulcers occurring just beyond the exit from the stomach).
Like its sister drug omeprazole, Nexium works by reducing the production of stomach acid.
Nexium comes in delayed-release capsules that should be swallowed whole. Be sure to avoid crushing or chewing the capsules.
Take Nexium at least one hour before meals. Be careful to swallow it whole. If you have trouble swallowing capsules, you can open the capsule and carefully pour the pellets onto one tablespoon of applesauce. The applesauce should not be hot. Mix in the pellets, then swallow the applesauce immediately, without chewing.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Nexium.
If Nexium gives you an allergic reaction, or you've ever had an allergic reaction to omeprazole, you will not be able to use Nexium.
The antibiotics prescribed in conjunction with Nexium for the treatment of ulcers have occasionally been known to cause severe side effects and life-threatening allergic reactions. If you've been prescribed this combination, be sure to check the entries on amoxicillin and clarithromycin for more information.
If Nexium is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Nexium with the following:DiazepamDigoxinIron saltsKetoconazoleWarfarin
There's no problem, however, with combining antacids and Nexium; no unwanted interaction will result.
The effects of Nexium during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, check with your doctor.
Because Nexium is likely to appear in breast milk and could harm a nursing infant, you'll need to choose between taking Nexium or breastfeeding your baby.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
For relief of symptoms, the usual dosage is one 20-milligram capsule daily for 4 weeks. If symptoms persist, your doctor may prescribe an additional 4 weeks of therapy.
To heal damage, the dosage is 20 or 40 milligrams of Nexium once daily for 4 to 8 weeks. If you haven't fully healed after 8 weeks, your doctor may prescribe an additional 4 to 8 weeks of therapy. To maintain healing, the dosage is 20 milligrams once daily.
As part of a three-drug treatment to rid the body of ulcer-causing H. Pylori bacteria, Nexium is prescribed at a dosage of 40 milligrams once daily for 10 days.
If you have severe liver problems, you should take no more than 20 milligrams of Nexium per day.
Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. There have been some reports of Nexium overdoses. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.