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Nexium treats stomach and esophagus problems such as acid reflux and ulcers. Known as the generic drug esomeprazole magnesium, the drug decreases the amount of acid the stomach makes.

It relieves symptoms such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing and cough. Nexium helps heal acid damage to the stomach and esophagus, helps prevent ulcers and may help prevent cancer of the esophagus. The drug belongs to a class known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).

Side effects include headache or abdominal pain, symptoms of a low magnesium blood level such as unusually fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, persistent muscle spasms and seizures, a severe intestinal condition known as clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea and allergic reactions such as rash, itching, swelling, dizziness and trouble breathing.

Patients must notify their doctors of any allergies and their medical histories, especially with liver disease.

PPIs may increase a patient’s risk for bone fractures, especially with higher doses and seniors. He or she is cautioned to speak with his or her doctor about ways of preventing bone loss/fracture such as taking calcium and vitamin D.

(NOTE: PharmPsych.com is featuring the first 10 of 200 of the most common prescription medicine brands reflected in Google’s app for Rx drug flash cards. The flash cards and the app were developed as visual aids to instruct medical students on modern drugs. In a series of summaries, we recap the purpose and nature of each drug, its side effects and advice on usage. The series will feature Lipitor, Singulair, Lexapro, Nexium, Synthroid, Plavix, Toprol XL, Prevacid, Vytorin and Advair Diskus.)

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Last updated September 2014