What is this medication and its most common uses?Nexium is a medicine known as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that is used to treat and maintain healing of erosive esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus [the tube that connects your mouth and stomach]), and to treat heartburn and other symptoms caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nexium is also used to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers in people on continuous therapy with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen); for long-term treatment of conditions where the stomach makes too much acid, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. It is also used with other medicines to eliminate the bacteria that often cause ulcers (known as Helicobacter pylori). Nexium is available as capsules and as an oral suspension.
What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?How does this medication work?
Nexium is a delayed-release medicine (releases medicine into your body at a later time from when you take it). It works by reducing the acid in your stomach.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
Erosive Esophagitis/GERD: Nexium is proven to help heal acid-related damage to the lining of your esophagus and relieve symptoms such as heartburn.
Reduction of NSAID-Associated Stomach Ulcers: Nexium can help prevent stomach ulcers related to NSAID use.
H. pylori Infection: When used in combination with other medicines, Nexium may cure this infection and reduce your risk of having another ulcer.
Conditions Causing Increased Stomach Acid Production: Nexium may reduce the acid produced in the stomach, thereby relieving symptoms associated with this condition.
GERD: Nexium can relieve your heartburn from the first week of therapy.
Erosive Esophagitis: Nexium can help heal damage to the lining of your esophagus after 4 weeks of therapy.
Reduction of NSAID-Associated Stomach Ulcers: Studies show Nexium prevents stomach ulcers in 80-95% of people when evaluated at 26 weeks of therapy.
H. pylori Infection: When used in combination with other medicines in a 10-day treatment course, studies show Nexium is proven to heal ulcers caused by this infection when evaluated after 4 weeks.
Conditions Causing Increased Stomach Acid Production: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Nexium exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.
How do I know it is working?
You may start to notice a reduction in the severity or frequency of your heartburn. This is a good indicator that your medication is working. Your healthcare provider will ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your heartburn is controlled and to check for improvement of your condition.
What are the possible side effects of this medication?The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
More common side effects may include: headache, diarrhea, nausea, gas, stomach pain, constipation, dry mouth.
Children and Adolescents 1-17 Years
More common side effects may include: headache, diarrhea, abdominal (stomach area) pain, nausea, drowsiness.
Children 1 Month-1 Year
More common side effects may include: abdominal pain, fast breathing, liver injury.
Less common side effects of Nexium may include:
Diarrhea that does not go away.
Fractures of the hip, wrist, or spine if you take multiple doses a day for long periods.
Low blood magnesium levels with symptoms such as seizures, dizziness, abnormal or fast heartbeat, jitteriness, jerking movements or shaking, muscle weakness, spasms of your hands and feet, cramps or muscle aches, or spasm of your voice box.
Who should not take this medication?Do not take Nexium if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to any other PPI.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Nexium. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have low magnesium levels, allergies, liver problems, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What is the usual dosage?The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Healing of Erosive Esophagitis
Adults: The recommended dose is 20 milligrams (mg) or 40 mg once a day for 4-8 weeks. Depending on your response, your healthcare provider may suggest another 4-8 weeks of treatment.
Adolescents 12-17 years: The recommended dose is 20 mg or 40 mg once a day for 4-8 weeks.
Children 1-11 years: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.
Infants 1 month-<1 year: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child, based on his/her weight.
Maintenance of Healing of Erosive Esophagitis
Adults: The recommended dose is 20 mg once a day.
Treatment of GERD
Adults: The recommended dose is 20 mg once a day for 4 weeks.
Adolescents 12-17 years: The recommended dose is 20 mg once a day for 4 weeks.
Children 1-11 years: The recommended dose is 10 mg once a day for up to 8 weeks.
Prevention of Stomach Ulcer Due to NSAIDs
Adults: The recommended dose is 20 mg or 40 mg once a day for up to 6 months.
Prevention of Duodenal Ulcer Due to H. pylori Infection
Adults: This treatment involves taking 3 different medications. The usual dose for the triple therapy is: Nexium 40 mg once a day for 10 days, amoxicillin 1000 mg twice a day for 10 days, and clarithromycin 500 mg twice a day for 10 days.
Treatment of Excess Stomach Acid (Such as Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome)
Adults: The recommended dose is 40 mg twice a day.
How should I take this medication?Take Nexium exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Take Nexium at least 1 hour before food. Swallow capsules whole. Do not crush or chew the capsules.
If you cannot swallow capsules, open the capsule and empty its contents on a tablespoon of applesauce. Swallow the applesauce mixture right away. Do not crush or chew the mixture or store it for later use.
Your healthcare provider will give you instructions on how to prepare the Nexium oral suspension.
What should I avoid while taking this medication?Do not change your dose or stop taking Nexium without first talking to your healthcare provider.
What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?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 healthcare provider before combining Nexium with the following: atazanavir, cilostazol, clopidogrel, diazepam, digoxin, erlotinib, ketoconazole, methotrexate, nelfinavir, iron-containing products, rifampin, saquinavir, St. John's wort, tacrolimus, voriconazole, or warfarin.
May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?The effects of Nexium during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Nexium. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?If you miss a dose of Nexium, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.
How should I store this medication?Store at room temperature.