Antiulcer therapies have made major advances in recent years with classes of drugs called histamine type 2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors. Both types of drug attack the causes of ulcers and gastrointestinal distress by blocking or decreasing gastric acids and promoting healing in damaged internal tissues of the digestive tract. Among treatments for gastroesophageal reflux disease and stomach ulcers caused by excessive production of gastric acid, esomeprazole is one of the most popular and effective medications available. The drug belongs to the class of proton pump inhibitors that slow acid production and block pathways of acid throughout the digestive system. Nexium-brand time-release esomeprazole capsules from AstraZeneca are one of the top-five sellers for the pharmaceutical giant.
Nexium Treatment and Dosage Information
Your doctor might prescribe Nexium to treat various conditions, but the primary uses of the medication are treating GERD or acid reflux and stomach ulcers caused by anti-inflammatory medications. Esomeprazole also heals damaged stomach and esophageal linings, and long-acting Nexium can be swallowed in capsule form, ingested through a feeding tube or mixed with water or food by breaking apart the capsules and mixing the granules in soft foods like applesauce.
Typical dosage is one capsule daily, and you shouldn’t chew the granules so that you benefit from the time-released properties of the medication. Esomeprazole therapy might take several weeks before you experience significant relief. You should call your doctor if you experience side effects or your symptoms get worse, but don’t stop taking the medicine if your condition improves until your doctor tells you to do so.
Clinical Studies of Nexium Used to Treat Ulcers
Several high-profile clinical studies have tested how well oral and intravenous esomeprazole works for patients who have bleeding peptic ulcers. A government-sponsored trial and clinical trials in Asia have concluded that both methods of treatment reduce rebleeding within 30 days after endoscopic treatments of peptic ulcers.
A University of Michigan study found that patients who took low-dose acetylsalicylic acid and were at risk for ulcers experienced the following results from esomeprazole therapy:
- Esomeprazole reduced occurrences of peptic ulcers significantly.
- Patients who took 40 mg and 20 mg of esomeprazole averaged ulcers in 1.5-percent of cases for 2,426 patients who took the medicine for 26 weeks.
- Placebo-treated patients experienced recurrences in 7.4-percent of the total number of patients.
- Patients who took esomeprazole generally experienced few side effects or discomfort.
Sales and Usage Statistics for Nexium
According to Medscape, Nexium was the third-most prescribed drug in the United States in 2013. The top and second positions were held by Abilify, which is used to treat depression, and Crestor, another AstraZeneca medication used to treat high cholesterol. Nexium claimed the number two position in total sales in 2013—$6.1 billion. All available sales and usage statistics indicate that Nexium is not only trusted by physicians but also by patients who buy the medication more often than most other prescription drugs on the market.
Cautions and Contraindications of Nexium Therapy
Powerful Nexium medicine doesn’t provide immediate relief of common heartburn symptoms and shouldn’t be used as an alternative to antacids. Severe heartburn could also indicate other health disorders such as a heart attack. People who have low levels of magnesium or liver disease shouldn’t use the medication. Possible side effects include headaches, diarrhea, chest pain, muscle spasms and sore throat. Other cautions and contraindications of esomeprazole therapy include:
- Avoid using the medicine with St. John’s Wort or rifampin.
- Long-term use could contribute to bone breakage and osteoporosis
- Don’t take Nexium with clopidogrel.
- Nexium could affect plasma levels when used with antiretroviral medications.
- Don’t use if pregnant because fetal harm could result.
- People who are older than 50 should consult their physicians before taking Nexium.
Concluding Thoughts on Nexium Therapy
An astonishing body of evidence suggests that Nexium or esomeprazole treats gastrointestinal distress and stomach ulcers with remarkable efficacy. Anecdotal evidence of $6.1 billion in annual sales indicates that patients find Nexium a cost-effective and reliable treatment for multiple kinds of stomach and intestinal dysfunctions. Treating Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, ulcers caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gastroesophageal reflux disease, Nexium decreases stomach acid, prevents esophageal damage from acid back-flow and stops recurrences of stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori bacteria. The medication promotes faster healing of bleeding ulcers and damaged tissue in the gastrointestinal tract, and most people tolerate the medicine well.