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Treating Symptoms of GERD, Excessive Stomach Acid and Relieving Heartburn Symptoms with NEXIUM

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NEXIUM (or esomeprazole) is a purple pill prescribed to treat symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), promote healing of erosive esophagitis, and relieve heartburn symptoms. NEXIUM can also be used for other medical purposes and is always give

What is NEXIUM?

NEXIUM (or esomeprazole) belongs to a group of medications known as proton pump inhibitors and it is a purple pill prescribed to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Despite of dietary change and treatment, people with acid reflux disease can have persistent heartburn on two or more days per week. NEXIUM also offers 24-hour heartburn relief caused by the acid reflux disease. Typically, NEXIUM is used for short-term treatment (4-8 weeks) of heartburn and other symptoms linked with GERD in both adults and children age 1 year or older. (Note: NEXIUM does not provide immediate relief of heartburn symptoms).

Besides acid reflux disease, NEXIUM is also prescribed to heal erosive esophagitis (EE) or damage to the esophagus which may be caused over time from stomach acid wearing of the lining of the esophagus. The condition of EE can only be diagnosed by a doctor. NEXIUM works to inhibit acid by reducing the amount of acid from forming in the stomach and allow the esophagus to be healed, and most erosion can be healed within short-term treatment of 4-8 weeks with NEXIUM. An additional 4-8 week course of NEXIUM may be introduced for those patients who have not healed in their first short-term treatment (4-8 weeks). The result may vary from one individual to another.

NEXIUM is also suitable to be given for long-term treatment of pathological hypersecretory conditions involving excessive stomach acid, including Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.

NEXIUM may be prescribed for other purposes and it is also given to the patients to help prevent gastric ulcer caused by the usage of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or infection with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori).

Who Should Not Take NEXIUM?

Do not take NEXIUM if you are allergic to the ingredients found in NEXIUM or have an allergy to any other benzimidazole drug like mebendazole (vermox), or albendazole (albenza).

Prior to Taking NEXIUM, What Should I Tell My Doctor?

As with any other drug, NEXIUM may interact with certain medications that may cause other serious side effects. Before you take NEXIUM, tell your doctor all the drugs you take including vitamin pills, supplements, traditional herbals, over-the-counter drugs, as well as other prescribed and non-prescribed drugs. Especially, let your doctor know if you take diazepam (valium), clopidogrel (plavix), ketoconazole (xolegal, ketozole, nizoral, extina), a blood thinner- warfarin (Coumadin), iron (femiron, mol-iron, feosol, fergon, others), saquinavir (invirase), , voriconazole, cilostazol (pletal) and/or digoxin (lanoxicaps, lanoxin). Also, tell your doctor if you take nelfinavir (viracept) or atazanavir (reyataz) as either of these medications must not be taken together with NEXIUM.

If you are planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, you need to tell your doctor before taking NEXIUM even though there is no evidence that taking NEXIUM may harm your unborn baby. You should also let your doctor know if you are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed the baby even though it is not known if NEXIUM can pass into your breast milk and if it can harm your baby.

Prior to taking NEXIUM, tell your doctor if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis (also known as low bone mineral density). It has been reported that taking a proton pump inhibitor like NEXIUM may increase risk of bone fracture in spine, hip or wrist, especially among patients who are age 50 and older, and in those who have taken long term or at high doses of NEXIUM treatment. Even though scientists are not sure if NEXIUM is the actual cause of an increased risk of bone fracture, just tell your doctor if you are at risk of bone fracture.

Before Taking NEXIUM, What Should You Concern Yourself About?

If you miss a dose of NEXIUM, take it as soon as you remember; however, just skip the missed dose if it is time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take 2 doses at a time but take only your regularly scheduled dose. In case you have taken more NEXIUM than your doctor has prescribed, seek for emergency medical assistance immediately!

It is advisable to take NEXIUM as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional as stated on your prescription label. NEXIUM cannot be taken either in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than suggested. Take each dose of NEXIUM with a full glass (or 8 ounces) of water and it should be taken at least 1 hour before a meal.

NEXIUM is often given to the patients for 4-8 weeks only, but if the patients need additional healing time, the doctor will suggest them a second course of treatment.

If you have or had severe liver disease you may require your doctor to adjust your NEXIUM dose or to perform any special tests.

Read your medication guide as directed by your doctor carefully. You are provided with instructions for each medication. Some health conditions may need to be treated with the combination of antibiotics and NEXIUM. Use all drugs as prescribed and follow your doctor instructions closely.

Do not change your dose or stop taking NEXIUM suddenly without prior approval from your doctor or healthcare provider.

In order to make swallowing easier, you can open the delayed-release capsule and sprinkle the drug into a spoonful of pudding or applesauce. Without chewing, swallow this mixture right away. The mixture cannot be saved for later use and the empty capsule should be discarded.

NEXIUM should be stored at room temperature and it should be kept away from heat and moisture.

Do you know that NEXIUM can also be given via a nasogastric (or NG) feeding tube? First, open its capsule and sprinkle it into a 60-milliliter syringe and mix in 50ml of water. Next, put the plunger into the syringe and shake the mixture thoroughly, and make sure there is no drug granules stuck in the tip of the syringe. Then, attach the syringe to the NG tube and push the plunger downward to empty the syringe into the tube. Lastly, flush the tube with more water so that you can wash the contents downward.

While taking NEXIUM, you should follow your doctor’s suggestion in regards to any restrictions on beverages, food, alcoholic drink, smoking or even your daily activity.

Normally, your symptom (s) will be improved before the condition is fully treated while taking NEXIUM for the full prescribed length of time. However, if your symptoms get worse or do not improve while taking NEXIUM, call your doctor right away!

What are the Possible Side Effects with NEXIUM?

The most common side effects with NEXIUM include dry mouth, swelling, headache, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, gas, diarrhea, redness at the injection site or drowsiness.

In adult patients 18 and older, diarrhea, headache, and abdominal pain are most commonly reported side effects with NEXIUM, but in pediatric patients (1-17 years old), nausea, somnolence, headache, abdominal pain and diarrhea are most frequently reported adverse side effects.

Shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, seizure (convulsions), tremor, flushing, headache, loss of coordination, fast heartbeat, dry mouth, drowsiness, sweating, and nausea are side effects of overdosing NEXIUM.

Note: These are only some of the side effects with NEXIUM, so you should discuss further with your pharmacist, healthcare provider or doctor in regards to all the possible side effects that you will have to experience after taking NEXIUM. Also, tell your doctor if you have any side effects listed and not listed here or symptom that bother you or does not go away two days or more.

When Should I Get Medical Care Right Away?

Get medical care or consult your healthcare provider or doctor right away, if you experience the following condition:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, throat, tongue or face
  • Hives

Do not confuse heartburn with the first symptom of a heart attack. If you are experiencing pain spreading to your shoulder or arm, heavy feeling, sweating without reason, nausea, or chest pain, do not hesitate to seek for emergency medical attention.

Final remarks:

Information contained herein is for educational purpose only and does not intend to substitute for any medical treatment, diagnosis or advice. In any medical symptoms or emergency or any acute situation arising from using NEXIUM, you are advised to consult a registered and qualified doctor immediately for a further diagnosis and advice.

You are encouraged to report any side effects of prescription medications to the FDA by either calling 1-800-FDA-1088 or by visiting www.FDA.gov/medwatch.

 

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As always stay healthy and happy!

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Terry Kuhn
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