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Nexium side effects


by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Nexium 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, Nexium 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. Nexium, 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. Nexium was approved by the FDA in 2001.

Recently research had determined that long term use of Nexium and other PPIs increases the risk for diarrhea and osteoporosis.

Side effects of Nexium

Nexium began to be used in 2001. It takes many years to find out the full range of side effects of Nexium or other drugs. Serious Nexium side effects could be an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives). Other Nexium side effects reported include headache, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, abdominal pain, or constipation; or dry mouth. Some studies indicate a common Nexium side effect is headache. The most common Nexium side effects appear to be gastrointestinal. An additional Nexium side effect is that it can interfere with the absorption of certain drugs. By preventing high acidity in the stomach, it is theoretically possible that chronic use of this drug may lead to the Nexium side effect of a higher rate of gastrointestinal infections since not enough acid is available to kill germs in the stomach.

Nexium medication not safe -- more side effects of Nexium - diarrhea and bone fracture

Nexium use may increase the risk of diarrhea. Taking a heartburn medication such as AstraZeneca's Nexium increases the risk of diarrhea blamed on the Clostridium difficile bacteria. Nexium reduces gastric acid, allowing for bacteria to multiply in the digestive system. Clostridium is the third-most common type of infectious diarrhea in patients aged 75 and older. Exposure to Clostridium difficile bacteria, which causes infection and inflammation of the intestine, previously occurred mostly during hospital stays, but cases have increasingly been contracted in community settings. While antibiotics formerly blamed for outbreaks of the illness have declined in use, the acid-blocking drugs have become steadily more popular to treat ulcers and conditions such as gastric reflux disease.

Nexium and other PPIs may now also be associated with bone fracture. Prolonged use of proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, particulary at high doses, is linked to increased risk of hip fracture in the elderly.