Esomeprazole (brand name Nexium) relieves a number of stomach-related complaints. It works by blocking a proton pump and reducing the production of acid in the stomach.
In this article, we will investigate what ailments Nexium is used for, how it works, its side effects and whether or not it has any contraindications.
Contents of this article:
Fast facts on Nexium
Here are some key points about Nexium. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.
- Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor
- Proton pump inhibitors are some of the most widely sold drugs in the world
- Side effects of Nexium include headache, nausea and flatulence
- The main effect of esomeprazole is a marked decrease in stomach acid production
- Nexium use might increase the risk of hip fractures
- Proton pump inhibitors inhibit hydrogen potassium ATPase
- Nexium is predominantly used to treat gastroesophageal reflux
- Nexium might prevent certain nutrients from being broken down and absorbed
- Nexium is a competitive inhibitor of the enzyme CYP2C19.
What is Nexium?
Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor and reduces the amount of acid produced in the stomach.
Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor, one of the most widely sold groups of drugs in the world.
Proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium substantially reduce stomach acid secretion. The site of action for this group of drugs is the parietal cells in the stomach wall; these cells secrete hydrochloric acid and intrinsic factor (an important factor in the absorption of vitamin B12).
The drug works by inhibiting hydrogen potassium ATPase (H+/K+ ATPase), a transporter that is responsible for acidifying the stomach.
Nexium is most commonly used to treat the following conditions:
- Dyspepsia: also known as indigestion. Symptoms include upper abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn and upper abdominal pain
- Peptic ulcer disease: a gap in the lining of the stomach, oesophagus or intestine
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): a chronic condition where the mucosa is damaged by stomach acid coming up from the stomach into the esophagus; the main symptom is heartburn. Nexium's reduction of stomach acid eases the symptoms of GERD and prevents damage to the oesophagus
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome: a pancreatic tumor overstimulates the production of stomach acid.
Nexium is sometimes used by patients who are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This is due to NSAIDs' propensity to produce stomach ulcers; Nexium helps prevent their formation.1
There are a number of proton pump inhibitors available, including Aciphex, Zegerid, Prilosec, Protonix and Prevacid. When used for milder diseases, Nexium's effects are comparable to other similar drugs on the market. However, Nexium appears to be more effective than some others when used in particularly severe cases.2
Esomeprazole also appears to increase erosive esophageal healing, compared with some other leading brands.3
Side effects of Nexium
The most common side effects of Nexium are:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Unusual taste in the mouth
- Abdominal pain.
Severe, rarer side effects of Nexium include:4
- Severe allergies
- Dark urine
- Chest or back pain
- Changes in heart rhythm
- Yellow coloration of the eyes or skin
- Extreme fatigue and muscle weakness
- Unusual bleeding or bruising
- Paresthesia (experiencing a tingling or prickly sensation)
- Persistent sore throat
- Severe stomach pain.
On the next page, we look at Nexium's potential adverse effects and its interaction with other drugs.