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Nexium 24HR

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 4 minutes read
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Nexium 24HR, also known by the active ingredient esomeprazole, treats heartburn and stomach ulcers. It works by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach. It is also used to protect your stomach lining from medications like anti-inflammatories and steroids. Esomeprazole can come in many different formulations; however, tablets are the most common.

Who is it for?

Esomeprazole is available as over–the–counter treatment for adults over the age of 18 for short-term treatment of reflux symptoms (heartburn and acid regurgitation).

It is also prescribed for treating a stomach ulcer and used with antibiotics to treat a bacteria called H. pylori and for stomach acid suppression. It can also be prescribed for children to treat these conditions. However, this is only ever done under the close supervision of their doctor.

If your symptoms worsen or do not improve after taking this medicine for 14 days, contact your doctor.

How does it work?

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

Esomeprazole vs Omeprazole

  • Omeprazole is available generically and under various brand names, including Prilosec.
  • Omeprazole acts as a proton pump inhibitor by irreversibly binding to the H+/K+ ATPase enzyme in gastric parietal cells, thereby inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid. It reduces both basal and stimulated acid production.
  • Omeprazole is indicated for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers, and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome as well as many others.
  • The usual dosage of omeprazole for adults with GERD is 20 to 40 mg once daily, taken orally. The duration of treatment may vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual patient's response.
  • Common side effects of omeprazole include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, flatulence, and constipation. Rare but serious side effects such as allergic reactions, liver dysfunction, and vitamin B12 deficiency may occur with prolonged use.
  • Special considerations: Omeprazole may interact with certain medications, including clopidogrel, diazepam, and methotrexate. Long-term use of omeprazole may increase the risk of bone fractures, hypomagnesemia, and Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea.

Esomeprazole vs Lansoprazole

  • Lansoprazole is available generically and under the brand name Prevacid.
  • Lansoprazole, like other PPIs, acts by inhibiting the proton pump in gastric parietal cells, thereby reducing the secretion of gastric acid.
  • It is indicated for the treatment of GERD, stomach ulcers, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and other conditions.
  • The usual dosage of lansoprazole for adults, depending on the condition, is 15 to 30 mg once daily, taken orally, usually for 4 to 8 weeks. Dosage adjustments may be necessary based on the patient's condition and response to treatment.
  • Common side effects of lansoprazole include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, constipation, and flatulence. Serious side effects such as allergic reactions, liver dysfunction, and vitamin B12 deficiency may occur with prolonged use.
  • Special Considerations - Lansoprazole may interact with certain medications, such as warfarin, theophylline, and methotrexate. Long-term use of lansoprazole may increase the risk of bone fractures, hypomagnesemia, and Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.

Are there any side effects?

Some people are bound to get unwanted side effects, as with any medication. Some 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). You should inform your doctor if you get diarrhea that does not resolve after a few days.

There is a greater risk of side effects with long-term use, and therefore any long term use should be through your doctor's direction.

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. You should talk to your doctor if you are at risk of osteoporosis, as the medication can interfere with calcium absorption, which may further weaken your bones. A discussion with your doctor would also be sensible if you are known to have low levels of magnesium or have recently been suffering from diarrhea.

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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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