|Type of medicine||Proton pump inhibitor|
|Used for||Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
Eradication of Helicobacter pylori
To treat or prevent ulcers caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
|Also called||Nexium®, Emozul®|
|Available as||Tablets, capsules, sachets of granules for an oral suspension, and injection|
Esomeprazole works by decreasing the production of acid in the stomach, which helps to reduce acid indigestion and heal ulcers.
Acid is produced naturally in your stomach to help you digest food and to kill bacteria. In some people there may be a problem with the muscular band at the top of the stomach that keeps the stomach tightly closed. This may allow the acid to escape and irritate the oesophagus. This is called 'acid reflux' and can cause heartburn and/or oesophagitis.
Proton pump inhibitors such as esomeprazole stop cells in the lining of the stomach from producing too much acid. By decreasing the amount of acid, they help to reduce acid reflux related symptoms such as heartburn.
Esomeprazole is also used to treat irritation and ulceration of the stomach caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It can also be used as one part of a treatment to get rid of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found in the stomach which can cause ulcers.
Esomeprazole is also available as a combination preparation with the anti-inflammatory medicine naproxen. For more information about this, see the "Naproxen" information leaflet.
Before taking esomeprazole
Before taking esomeprazole make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have kidney or liver problems.
- If you have any of the following symptoms: bleeding, difficulty swallowing, being sick frequently, or unexplained weight loss.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take esomeprazole
- Before starting this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
- Take esomeprazole exactly as your doctor has told you.
- Try to take esomeprazole at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses. The usual dose is once a day. However, if you are taking esomeprazole for Helicobacter pylori eradication or if you have Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, you will be asked to take two doses a day - one in the morning and one in the evening.
- You may take esomeprazole before or after food, although taking it after a meal may slightly delay it taking effect.
- Do not chew or crush esomeprazole. Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water, or alternatively, you may disperse your tablet in water before taking it.
- If you have been given the sachets, mix the content of each sachet with 15 ml of water, stir the liquid and then leave it to thicken for a minute or so. After a few minutes, stir the liquid again and then swallow it. Do not chew the granules as you swallow. (Make sure you take the dose within 30 minutes of first mixing in the water.)
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Smoking increases the amount of acid produced by the stomach and will aggravate your condition. If you smoke, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about quitting.
- Try to avoid foods and drinks that may upset your stomach such as alcohol, citrus fruits/juices, drinks containing caffeine, tomatoes and spicy food.
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your progress can be monitored.
- Recent studies suggest that there may be a slight increase in risk of bone fractures when proton pump inhibitors like esomeprazole are taken for longer than a year. If this affects you, speak with your doctor to check that you are taking enough vitamin D and calcium to reduce this risk.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking esomeprazole.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with esomeprazole.
Can esomeprazole cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre and drink 6-8 glasses of water each day|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water to replace any lost fluids|
|Feeling or being sick, stomach ache, flatulence||Eat little and often. Stick to simple or bland foods|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store esomeprazole
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nexium 20mg, 40mg Tablets; Manufacturer's PIL, Nexium 20mg, 40mg Tablets, AstraZeneca UK Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Nexium 10 mg gastro-resistant granules for oral suspension, sachet; Manufacturer's PIL, Nexium 10 mg gastro-resistant granules for oral suspension, sachet, AstraZeneca UK Limited, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 18/05/2012||Document ID: 1415 Version: 25||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.