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Why is Nexium prescribed?

Nexium (Esomeprazole) is used to treat certain stomach and esophagus problems (such as acid reflux, ulcers). It works by decreasing the amount of acid your stomach makes. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and persistent cough. This medication helps heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus, helps prevent ulcers, and may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. Esomeprazole belongs to a class of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Nexium may also be given to prevent gastric ulcer caused by infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), or by the use of NSAIDs. Nexium is not for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms. Esomeprazole, the generic alternative of Nexium is available. 

What is the most effective way to take Nexium?

Use Nexium exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

  • Take each dose with a full glass (8 ounces) of water.
  • Nexium should be taken at least one hour before a meal.
  • Do not crush or chew a delayed-release capsule. However, to make swallowing easier, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the medicine into a spoonful of pudding or applesauce. Swallow right away without chewing. Do not save the mixture for later use.
  • The capsule can be given through a nasogastric (NG) feeding tube. Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.
  • Esomeprazole is usually given for 4 to 8 weeks only. Your doctor may recommend a second course of treatment if you need additional healing time.
  • Use this medicine for the full prescribed length of time, even if your symptoms quickly improve.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse while you are taking this medicine.
  • This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using esomeprazole.
  • Some conditions are treated with a combination of esomeprazole and antibiotics. Use all medications as directed.


Before taking Nexium, know that:

  • Heartburn can mimic early symptoms of a heart attack.

Get emergency medical help if you have chest pain that spreads to your jaw or shoulder and you feel anxious or light-headed.

Before taking Nexium, tell your doctor:

  • if you are allergic to esomeprazole or to similar medicines such as lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), pantoprazole (Protonix), or rabeprazole (AcipHex).
  • if you have ever had: severe liver disease, lupus; osteoporosis or osteopenia; or low levels of magnesium in your blood
  • if you are pregnant or breast-feeding

After taking Nexium, talk with your doctor:

  • If you are urinating less than usual, or if you have blood in your urine as Nexium can cause kidney problems.
  • About ways to keep your bones healthy. You may be more likely to have a broken bone in your hip, wrist, or spine while taking a proton pump inhibitor long-term or more than once per day.
  • If you have diarrhea that is watery or has blood in it. Diarrhea may be a sign of a new infection.
  • If you have joint pain and a skin rash on your cheeks or arms that worsens in sunlight. Esomeprazole may cause new or worsening symptoms of lupus. 



Side Effects

Common Nexium side effects include but are not limited to:

  • headache
  • drowsiness
  • mild diarrhea
  • nausea, stomach pain, gas, or constipation
  • dry mouth

Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • symptoms of a low magnesium blood level (such as unusually fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms)
  • signs of lupus (such as a rash on nose and cheeks, new or worsening joint pain)
  • persistent diarrhea, abdominal or pain/cramping in the stomach area, fever, blood/mucus in your stool
  • symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency (such as unusual weakness, sore tongue, or numbness/tingling of the hands/feet).
  • a very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms including rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing, signs of kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine)

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. 


Q: Why is Nexium prescribed?

A: Nexium decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach. It is used to treat symptoms of GERD and other conditions involving excessive stomach acid

Q: Can I take Nexium to treat heartburn right away?

A: No, Nexium is not for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms.

Q: Are there any major side effects I should be aware of?

A: Nexium can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of a new infection. If you have diarrhea that is watery or bloody, call your doctor before using anti-diarrhea medicine.

Q: What is I miss a dose of Nexium?

A: Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

Q: How should I store this medication?

A: Store Nexium at room temperature away from moisture and heat.


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