A popular drug prescribed to treat the symptoms of acid reflux and gastroensophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is Nexium, which is sometimes called 'the purple pill' and is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It can also be used to repair damage caused by these conditions. It works in three different ways:
When your stomach acids flow back into your esophagus you experience acid reflux. This causes a burning sensation throughout your chest and throat area. Many people refer to this as heartburn. This happens because your lower esophageal sphincter has become relaxed or weakened. This sphincter acts as a flap that when closed, keeps your stomach contents where they belong. It becomes weakened or relaxed for many reasons, and it is important to find and treat the cause of the problem rather than repairing the sphincter - unless absolutely necessary. Nexium is one way to treat these acid problems.
The active ingredient in Nexium is called esomeprazole. This ingredient helps to decrease the production of acid in your stomach. Less acid means your stomach is less full, and less of a possibility of the acid to go back up your esophagus. The specific way this ingredient works is by stopping the actions of the proton pump, which is what produces acid in your stomach. Esomeprazole causes a chemic reaction in the cells in the proton pump system to stop them from expelling acid. This decrease of stomach acid also gives your lower esophageal sphincter a break, as it doesn't have to keep as much liquid down.
Finally, Nexium can be prescribed to help repair the damage caused to your esophagus and stomach from acid reflux. After your stomach has decreased its production of acid, your esophagus is allowed a chance to heal itself. It is necessary for a doctor to confirm any damage or erosion. If you leave any damage untreated, you could potentially run into a number of other serious health problems. Damage to the esophagus will likely get you the diagnosis of erosive esophagitis, and Nexium can help with that. You can expect the lining of your esophagus to heal somewhere between four to eight weeks after starting Nexium, and repairs and maintenance can continue for up to 6 months.
If you think you are suffering from acid reflux or some other type of stomach acid condition, consider asking your doctor for a prescription for Nexium.
Nexium is not intended as a quick fix for heartburn, but rather treats more chronic, long-term conditions. This drug, as well as all drugs, has a risk for potential side effects. You should discuss with your physician if these side effects outweigh the benefits of taking Nexium. Be sure to mention any other health conditions you may have, and any medications you are taking so that your doctor can determine if this medication is safe for your individual situation.