GENERIC NAME: esomeprazole
BRAND NAME: Nexium, Nexium 24HR, Nexium IV
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Esomeprazole is in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) which block the production of acid by the stomach. Other drugs in the same class include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex) and pantoprazole (Protonix). Chemically, esomeprazole is very similar to omeprazole. Proton pump inhibitors are used for the treatment of conditions such as stomach and duodenal ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome which all are caused by stomach acid. Esomeprazole, like other proton-pump inhibitors, blocks the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid. By blocking the enzyme, the production of acid is decreased, and this allows the stomach and esophagus to heal. Esomeprazole was approved by the FDA in February 2001.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Esomeprazole is approved for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and in combination with amoxicillin and clarithromycin (Biaxin) for the treatment of patients with ulcers and H. pylori infection. It also is used for reducing the risk of gastric ulcers associated with NSAIDs and the treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Esomeprazole also is approved for short term use in children ages 1-11 for GERD. Over-the counter (OTC) esomeprazole is used for treatment of frequent heartburn.
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