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Nexium is the Latest Drug for Heartburn and Acid Reflux

May work better than its 'mirror twin,' Prilosec

FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthScout) -- A new prescription drug to fight heartburn and other serious conditions involving indigestion has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Nexium (esomeprazole) can be used for the treatment of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It's also approved for use with antibiotics to treat an infection called Helicobacter pylori, which attacks people with duodenal ulcer disease.

More than 21 million Americans suffer from frequent and persistent heartburn, or GERD, which can also include sour taste or difficulty in swallowing. Acid reflux (acid leaks from the stomach into the esophagus) can damage the esophagus over time, causing ulcers and a more serious condition called erosive esophagitis.

Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). PPIs block the final step of acid production by the stomach by curbing the activity of acid-producing cells called parietal cells. Approximately 90 percent of patients with erosive esophagitis were healed during an eight-week period of treatment with Nexium, research results say.

Nexium was developed by AstraZeneca, which also developed Prilosec (omeprazole). In fact, Nexium was actually derived from Prilosec. The drugs are from identical molecules, but are mirror images of each other.

The long-acting capsule is taken one hour before breakfast. If swallowing capsules is a problem, the capsule can be opened and the pellets mixed with applesauce. The pellets should not be chewed or crushed. Side effects include headache, nausea, gas, abdominal pain, constipation and dry mouth.

This news release from the AstraZeneca Web site announces the FDA approval.

The chemical properties of esomeprazole are detailed at this site hosted by Micromedix.

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