Esomeprazole, in both prescription and over-the-counter forms, is utilized to treat various symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other stomach-related conditions.
Prescription esomeprazole is indicated for the treatment of GERD symptoms and related esophageal damage in adults and children as young as 1 year of age. It can prevent further damage and promote healing of the esophagus in GERD patients. Prescription esomeprazole reduces the likelihood of ulcer formation in adults taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and is used, in combination with other medications, to treat and prevent the recurrence of stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori in adults.
Nonprescription esomeprazole is indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn in adults. Esomeprazole works by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach, and it belongs to a class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors.
Uses and Dosage
Take esomeprazole orally as directed by your doctor, typically once daily, and at least one hour before a meal. If you are self-medicating, follow all directions on the product packaging. The dosage and treatment duration will be based on your medical condition and response to the medication. Do not increase the dose or frequency of the medication without the advice of your doctor.
Do not crush or chew the medication. Swallow the capsules whole. If you have difficulty swallowing the capsules, you may open them and sprinkle the contents onto a spoonful of unheated applesauce. Consume the mixture immediately, without chewing. Do not prepare the mixture in advance, as this may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.
You may take antacids with this medication, if necessary. If you are also taking sucralfate, make sure to take esomeprazole at least 30 minutes prior to taking sucralfate.
Take esomeprazole regularly and at the same time every day. Continue taking the medication as prescribed, even if you start feeling better, until the end of the treatment. Inform your doctor if your condition worsens or persists.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- abdominal pain
- decreased appetite
- dry mouth or an unusual taste in the mouth
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- blisters, peeling skin, hives, rashes or polyps
- changes in urination frequency or bloody urine
- difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat
- dizziness, lightheadedness or excessive tiredness
- hoarseness or difficulty swallowing
- severe diarrhea or bloody stool
- severe nausea
- loss of appetite
- swelling, joint pain, muscle cramps or weakness
- uncontrollable shaking, jitteriness or seizures
Before starting treatment with esomeprazole, inform your doctor or pharmacist about your medical history and any allergies you may have. This medication may contain inactive ingredients that can cause adverse reactions.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have a history of liver disease or lupus, as these conditions may affect the use of esomeprazole.
Proton pump inhibitors like esomeprazole may increase the risk of bone fractures, particularly with prolonged use, high doses, and in older adults. Your doctor or pharmacist can discuss strategies to prevent bone loss and fractures, such as taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
The safety of esomeprazole during pregnancy has not been fully established. Consult your doctor before taking this medication if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. The effects of esomeprazole on a nursing infant are unknown, as the drug may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Form and Strength
Nexium is available in the following forms and strengths:
How long does it take for Nexium to take effect?
You should start to feel better within 2 to 3 days. It may take up to 4 weeks for esomeprazole to work properly. You may still have symptoms
during this time.
What happens if you take Nexium on an empty stomach?
Taking Nexium on an empty stomach allows the medication to be the most effective.