What Is Nexium® (esomeprazole magnesium)?
Nexium® is a registered brand name version of the prescription strength form of the drug esomeprazole magnesium. Manufactured by AstraZeneca, Nexium® is a proton pump inhibitor that slows down the production of acid in the stomach by turning off the cells that produce it. This form of the drug is most widely prescribed in 40mg dosages and taken as a pill (AstraZeneca markets Nexium® as "The Purple Pill"). Another form of the drug, commonly called Nexium® IV (Esomeprazole Sodium) was recently approved by the FDA for use as an intravenous solution.
In addition to being prescribed to treat chronic heartburn, Nexium® is also used to reverse the effects of erosive esophagitis, which is damage caused to the esophagus by contacting stomach acid over time. In addition, people using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are often given Nexium® to prevent or lessen the chances of developing ulcers or lesions in the digestive tract.
Nexium® Prescribed as Heartburn Medication
Nexium® is most commonly prescribed to treat chronic heartburn caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD (commonly referred to as acid reflux disease). Sufferers of GERD produce too much stomach acid and that acid often escapes the stomach and travels up into the esophagus. Overtime, this can severely damage the sensitive lining of the esophagus and cause a wide range of painful symptoms including intense burning, sharp pain, and even bleeding.
By shutting off the acid producing cells within the stomach, Nexium® reduces the amount of stomach acid a person can produce and lessens the chances of that acid flowing back into the esophagus.
Side Effects of Nexium®
Nexium® may cause a wide range of side effects. Most are merely annoyances but some can be extremely dangerous and may require hospitalization. The mild side effects include:
- Occasional headache
- Mild diarrhea
- Nausea (which may cause vomiting)
- Gas and/or bloating
- Mild to moderate stomach pain
- Occasional constipation
- Dry mouth
However, more severe side effects include:
- Painful blisters or peeling of the skin
- Severe hives or other rashes
- Unexplained itching
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing (which if left unchecked can turn deadly)
- Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
Nexium® Bone Fracture Risk
After reviewing several studies on the extended use of proton pump inhibitors like Nexium®, the FDA found that there was significant reason to believe that patients may be more likely to suffer fractures of the wrist and hips as well as spine fractures. Patients most at risk are men and women over 50. These risks increase if the patient has used any of these medications either in high doses or for a period longer than one year.
In addition, Nexium® can adversely interact with certain drugs including saquinavir (an HIV drug) and digoxin (a heart medication used to treat congestive heart failure or arrhythmia) among others.
Contact a Nexium® Attorney Today
If you've suffered any of the side effects of Nexium®, including fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our law offices today schedule a consultation with one of our Nexium® attorneys. Your right to compensation may expire if you don't act soon.