Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Esomeprazole is prescribed to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach, the duodenum.


Esomeprazole is the active ingredient of Nexiam.

General information

Esomeprazole is prescribed to treat ulcers of the stomach and the first part of the small intestine that connects to the stomach, the duodenum. It is also effective in treating gastro-oesophageal reflux, the backward flow of stomach acid contents into the oesophagus, the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.

In some cases esomeprazole is prescribed along with other medication - often two different antibiotics - to eradicate H. Pylori, a cause of stomach ulcers.

For this drug to remain effective, it has to be taken regularly; an ulcer may recur when you stop treatment prematurely.

Esomeprazole can mask the symptoms and may delay the diagnosis of stomach cancers - possible malignancy should be excluded prior to start of treatment.

How does esomeprazole work?

This medication decreases the production of acid in the stomach as a result of blocking an enzyme needed for acid manufacture.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 4

Available as: esomeprazole is available as tablets and injection

What does it do ? esomeprazole reduces stomach acid production

Overdose risk : low

Dependence risk: low

Is esomeprazole available as a generic? no

Is esomeprazole available on prescription only? yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 3 hours

Duration of action: up to 24 hours

Dietary advice: esomeprazole should best be taken 30 minutes before a meal; avoid food that may increase the production of stomach acid, such as alcohol, spicy meals, and so forth

Stopping this medicine: do not discontinue using this medication without consulting your doctor, as symptoms may recur with premature discontinuation

Prolonged use: although few problems are expected, esomeprazole is not intended for indefinite use

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • if you have a liver or kidney disease
  • if you are taking any other medication

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children and should only be prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness and/or light-headedness. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication as it may aggravate your condition and reduce the apparent efficacy of this medication.

Possible side effects:

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases







nausea/ vomiting



abdominal pain



skin rash



unexplained bruising







Drug interactions:


risk of warfarin toxicity

ketoconazole; itraconazole

reduced effect of these anti-fungal drugs


risk diazepam toxicity


risk of phenytoin toxicity


risk of theophylline toxicity

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a liver or kidney disease

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 20-40mg once daily.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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