What is Nexium (esomeprazole)?
Nexium is a medication which results in a reduction of the concentration of acid in the stomach. It is also known by its generic name esomeprazole. It does this through its action as a proton pump inhibitor. It inhibits gastric parietal cells within the stomach which are responsible for the secretion and production of acid. High levels of stomach acid is linked to medical conditions such as peptic ulcer disease (PUD), dyspepsia, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD/GERD). For its ability to reduce stomach acid concentrations Nexium has been found to be effective in treating these conditions.
Nexium capsules contain esomeprazole magnesium and many other inactive ingredients used as fillers. Typically it comes in a slow release form. To achieve this the esomeprazole is coated in a layer of an inactive ingredient which is designed to let the esomeprazole dissolve slowly into the system of the one taking the medication. This is achieved by creating small enteric-coated granules which contain the esomeprazole magnesium as well as the other inactive ingredients. For this reason it is important not to tamper with or crush the individual granules contained within the capsule as this may lead to an increased absorption of the esomeprazole into the patients system.
What is Nexium used for?
Due to the fact that a large amount of gastrointestinal problems are linked to high concentrations of stomach acid, Nexium medication has a wide variety of uses. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition where acid from the stomach comes into contact with the esophagus. This can be very uncomfortable and prolonged exposure of the esophagus to stomach acid can cause permanent damage. Nexium reduces the concentration of acid in the stomach thereby lessening the harm done and pain experienced significantly. Nexium is also beneficial for the treatment of peptic and duodenal ulcers. Ulcers are aggravated by high amounts of stomach acid resulting in much of the pain that those with ulcers experience. High levels of stomach acid in combination with pain medications from the NSAID class of drugs can also lead to an increased risk of developing an ulcer. For this reason Nexium is often used as a preventative measure in those who use NSAIDs frequently for other medical conditions. For the treatment of ulcers it is used in conjunction with antibiotics as ulcers have been found to be linked to a certain kind of bacteria.
Nexium has been proven through several side effects to be useful for the treatment and elimination of certain stomach problems. There is some controversy as to how effective Nexium is compared to omeprazole. Omeprazole is the medication which Nexium was synthesized from originally and is also a proton pump inhibitor. Omeprazole is cheaper than Nexium and does not require a prescription in many countries. Some medical professionals believe that Nexium is not more efficient in limiting stomach acid than omeprazole. If this is true then the increased cost of attaining Nexium over omeprazole is not worth it. There however have been limited studies which have indicated that Nexium is in fact a more potent proton pump inhibitor. At this time there is no clear conclusion within the medical community as to the efficacy of Nexium compared to omeprazole.