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Nexium vs. Prilosec: Two GERD Treatments

Understanding Your Choices

Heartburn is dangerous sufficient. Making sense of your treatment selections for gastroesophageal reflux illness (GERD) could make it even worse. However there’s a motive for all these choices. GERD is a giant deal. In response to an article in Hepatology, the marketplace for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), probably the most generally prescribed drugs for GERD, was $13.9 billion in 2008 in the USA.

Two of probably the most generally prescribed PPIs are omeprazole (model title: Prilosec) and esomeprazole (model title: Nexium). Each at the moment are out there over-the-counter (OTC). However is there actually any distinction between them? Take a better take a look at each to see what advantages one treatment could supply over the opposite.

Similarities and Variations

Proton pumps are enzymes discovered within the parietal cells of your abdomen. They’re chargeable for producing hydrochloric acid, the primary ingredient of abdomen acid.

Abdomen acid isn’t all dangerous. The truth is, your physique wants it for digestion. However abdomen acid can find yourself in your esophagus when the muscle between your abdomen and esophagus doesn’t shut correctly. This causes the burning feeling in your chest and throat related to GERD. It may additionally trigger bronchial asthma, coughing, and pneumonia.

PPIs inhibit the actions of proton pumps. They suppress the quantity of acid produced in your abdomen. This class of medication has been in use since 1981. It’s extensively thought-about the best treatment for lowering abdomen acid.

PPIs work greatest whenever you take them an hour to half an hour earlier than a meal. You’ll have to take them for a number of days earlier than they’re totally efficient.

Why They’re Prescribed

PPIs like omeprazole and esomeprazole are used to deal with gastric acid-related situations, together with:

  • gastro esophageal reflux illness (GERD)
  • heartburn
  • esophagitis (irritation or erosion of the esophagus)
  • abdomen and duodenal ulcers brought on by Helicobacter pylori or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs)
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (a illness during which tumors trigger the manufacturing of extreme abdomen acid)


Omeprazole was made first, and contained the identical drug in two totally different chemical constructions; each was the mirror picture of the opposite. Esomeprazole is made from simply a kind of mirror photos, with all of the molecules of the drug having the identical chemical construction. So, the drugs are chemically comparable.

Nevertheless, there are minor variations. Numerous research point out that the variations between the 2 medicine could supply some benefits to folks with sure situations.

  • A examine printed in Digestive Illnesses and Sciences discovered that esomeprazole offered more practical management of GERD than omeprazole on the similar doses.
  • In response to a examine printed in World Journal of Gastroenterology, esomeprazole supplied quicker reduction than omeprazole within the first week of use. After one week, symptom reduction was comparable.

In an article in American Household Doctor, docs questioned these and different research on PPIs. They cited considerations corresponding to:

  • variations within the quantity of lively components given within the research
  • the scale of the research
  • the medical strategies used to measure effectiveness

The authors of the American Household Doctor article analyzed 41 research on the effectiveness of PPIs. They concluded there may be little or no distinction within the effectiveness of PPIs. However there could also be massive variations in value. Now that each of those medicine can be found OTC, you may even see dropping costs, as totally different producers compete.

The Value of Reduction

The American Household Doctor evaluate of PPIs concluded that the largest distinction between Prilosec and Nexium was value. Till March 2014, Nexium was out there solely by prescription and at a considerably larger value. Nexium now affords an OTC product that’s priced competitively with Prilosec OTC. Nevertheless, generic omeprazole could also be inexpensive than Prilosec OTC.

Historically, insurance coverage firms didn’t cowl OTC merchandise. Nevertheless, the PPI market has led many to revise their protection of Prilosec OTC and Nexium OTC. In case your insurance coverage nonetheless doesn’t cowl OTC PPIs, a prescription for generic omeprazole or esomeprazole could also be the best choice.

Facet Results

Most individuals don’t expertise too many unintended effects from PPIs. Occasionally, folks expertise:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache

These unintended effects could also be extra doubtless for those who take esomeprazole, than for those who take omeprazole.

It’s additionally believed that each of those PPIs could improve the danger of:

  • backbone and wrist fractures in postmenopausal girls, particularly if the drugs are taken for a yr or extra, or at larger doses
  • bacterial irritation of the colon, particularly after hospitalization
  • pneumonia
  • dietary deficiencies, together with vitamin B-12 and magnesium deficits

There have additionally been elevated charges of abdomen most cancers in lab animals uncovered to omeprazole for 2 years. It isn’t recognized if this threat extends to people.

Rebound Acid Secretion

Though the method isn’t fully understood, many individuals expertise extra acid manufacturing once they cease utilizing PPIs. It’s really helpful that you just taper off the treatment progressively.

Warnings and Interactions

Earlier than taking both treatment, inform your physician for those who:

  • are of Asian descent, as your physique could take longer to course of PPIs and chances are you’ll want a unique dose
  • have liver illness
  • have had low blood ranges of magnesium
  • are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant
  • are breastfeeding

Drug Interactions

Prilosec and Plavix Interplay

The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning that omeprazole (Prilosec) reduces the effectiveness of the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix). The FDA recommends that the 2 medicine not be taken collectively. Different PPIs will not be included within the warning, as a result of they haven’t been examined for this motion.

There are a selection of drug interactions with Prilosec.

All the time inform your physician about all of the medicine, herbs, and nutritional vitamins you’re taking. Each drugs can work together with different drugs you could be taking.

These medicine shouldn’t be taken with both treatment:

  • clopidogrel
  • delavirdine
  • nelfinavir
  • pimozide
  • rifampin
  • rilpivirine
  • risedronate
  • St. John’s Wort

Under are a few of the medicine which will work together with both treatment, however you should still be capable of take them. Inform your physician for those who taking any of those medicine:

  • amphetamine
  • aripiprazole
  • atazanavir
  • bisphosphonates (used to stop bone loss)
  • bosentan
  • carvedilol
  • cilostazol
  • citalopram
  • clozapine
  • cyclosporine
  • dextroamphetamine
  • escitalopram
  • antifungal medicine (fluconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole or others)
  • fosphenytoin
  • iron
  • hydrocodone
  • mesalamine
  • methotrexate
  • methylphenidate
  • phenytoin
  • raltegravir
  • saquinavir
  • tacrolimus
  • warfarin (or different vitamin Ok antagonists)
  • voriconazole

How Will You Tame the Fireplace?

Typically, you’ll be able to select the PPI that’s available and prices much less. However remember the fact that PPIs deal with the signs of GERD and different problems — they don’t deal with the trigger. Life-style components, corresponding to weight administration, avoiding massive meals proper earlier than sleep and quitting tobacco use, needs to be your first steps in controlling GERD and heartburn.

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