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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Esomeprazole is a medication used in the treatment of heartburn and stomach ulcers. It also protects your stomach lining from medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac. It works by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. Esomeprazole can come in many different formulations; however, tablets are the most common, and small amounts can be purchased from a pharmacy, shops, and supermarkets.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

Esomeprazole is for use by adults over the age of 18. When used for the treatment of a stomach ulcer, it may be combined with antibiotic medication to treat a bacteria called H. pylori. Esomeprazole is also used for other conditions where stomach acid suppression is necessary. It can be prescribed for children to treat these conditions; however, this is only under the close supervision of a doctor.

How does it work?

Esomeprazole belongs to a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and works by reducing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. The medication switches off the stomach acid-producing cells, meaning there is less acid in the stomach to irritate the stomach lining and food pipe (esophagus).

Should anyone avoid taking it?

You should speak to your doctor before taking this medication if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. A discussion with your doctor would also be sensible if you are known to have low magnesium levels or have recently been suffering from diarrhea. You should speak to your doctor if you are at risk of osteoporosis (weakened bones), as the medication can interfere with calcium absorption, which may in turn, further weaken your bones.

Are there any side effects?

As with any medication, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. Some of the common ones include headaches, nausea and vomiting, constipation, gas and stomach pain.

If you develop severe muscle cramps, you should speak to your doctor about whether low magnesium levels could be linked to your symptoms. Esomeprazole can also increase your risk of diarrhea and associated infections (C. difficile). If you do get diarrhea that does not resolve after a few days, you should let your doctor know.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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