What is Nexium (Esomeprazole)?
Nexium is an oral medication containing the active ingredient esomeprazole magnesium taken to treat stomach and esophagus issues such as acid reflux. It functions by reducing the acid production in the stomach. Nexium is used to heal acid damage in the stomach and esophagus, prevent ulcers, and protect against esophageal cancer. It can also be obtained over the counter to treat frequent heartburn.
Nexium is taken orally, once daily, a minimum of one hour before meals. Do not crush, chew, or dissolve this medication. If you struggle to swallow the whole medication, open the capsule and sprinkle it onto a tablespoon of cold apple sauce. Do not chew the apple sauce, swallow it right away. Do not store pre-prepared apple sauce medication mixture. Always prepare it at the time of consumption.
Dosage is dependent on the severity of your condition and your response to treatment. Do not change your dosage without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Nexium should be stored in its original packaging until the time of use. Store Nexium in a spot that will not exceed 25°C, out of direct sunlight and moisture. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Do not take expired medication. Dispose of expired or surplus medication responsibly, following the instructions of your healthcare provider. Do not share this medication with anyone, even if they have the same condition as you.
Common Side Effects
All medications come with a risk of side effects. It is important to recognize that your doctor has determined that the potential benefit provided by this medication outweighs the risk of side effects. All side effects can differ between individuals, and it is possible you will not experience any side effects at all. Common side effects associated with Nexium are headaches and abdominal pain. If you experience these symptoms and they worry you, they worsen or they do not resolve on their own, contact your healthcare provider.
Severe Side Effects
Occasionally, Nexium can be associated with severe side effects that should be taken seriously. Contact your doctor right away if you experience any of the following:
- Unusual changes in heart rate (fast/slow/irregular)
- Persistent muscle spasms
- Rash on nose and cheeks, joint pain (signs of lupus)
- Unrelenting diarrhea, severe abdominal cramping, fever, blood in stool (signs of a severe intestinal condition)
A severe allergic reaction to Nexium is rare, but not impossible. If you experience any allergy related symptoms such as rash, itching, facial swelling, severe dizziness, breathing difficulty, or change in kidney function (change in urine output), seek emergency medical help immediately.
This is not an exhaustive list of possible side effects. If you notice any unusual changes it is best to contact your healthcare provider.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking Nexium, ensure your doctor is aware of all your allergies, including that to the active ingredient esomeprazole magnesium or any of the other inactive ingredients in this medication. Inform your doctor of your medical history, particularly if you have a history of liver disease or lupus.
Before using this medication to self-treat, seek medical help if you have any of the following symptoms: trouble swallowing, vomiting blood, vomit that resembles coffee grounds, bloody stool, heartburn lasting more than three months, recurrent chest pain, recurrent wheezing, severe nausea, or stomach pain.
Before having surgery, always make sure your doctor is aware of what medications you take, including both prescription and non-prescription.
Some proton pump inhibitors (like Nexium) can increase the risk of bone fractures, particularly with long-term use, high dosage, and in older adults. Consult with your doctor on ways to manage this risk, particularly regarding preventing bone loss, such as calcium and/or vitamin D supplements.
Older adults can be more susceptible to side effects such as bone loss and fractures, as well as C. difficile infection. Take extra care to monitor symptoms while taking Nexium.
Children can be more susceptible to side effects of Nexium such as fever, cough, and nose/throat infections. Monitor children closely and contact your doctor for any concerns.
This medication should only be used during pregnancy when it is essential. Consult your doctor if you want to take this medication while pregnant. Do not self-medicate with Nexium if you are pregnant or planning to be pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking Nexium, contact your doctor about what to do next.
It is not known if Nexium passes into breast milk, however, similar drugs do. The effects on a nursing infant are not clearly defined. Talk to your doctor if you are wanting to take Nexium while breastfeeding.
Interactions & Contraindications
Medications taken concurrently can sometimes interact with one another, which can affect the way that they function in the body or increase the risk of negative side effects. It is therefore important to keep track of your medication schedule (including both non-prescription and prescription drugs) and share this with your doctor. Do not change the dosage, stop or start taking any medication without first asking your doctor.
Drugs that may interact with Nexium are cilostazol, clopidogrel, methotrexate, rifampin, and St John’s wort. If you are taking any of these regularly, consult with your doctor before starting Nexium, as they may want to adjust your medication schedule to accommodate it.
Stomach acid is required for some medications to be absorbed correctly. As the active ingredient esomeprazole acts to reduce stomach acid, it can influence how these medications work. Examples include atazanavir, erlotinib, levoketoconazole, pazonpanib, and rilpivirine, among more. Always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Esomeprazole is similar to omeprazole. Do not use omeprazole-containing products while taking esomeprazole.
Frequently Asked Questions