Esomeprazole sodium is a medication commonly marketed in the United States under the brand name Nexium I.V.®. It is prescribed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in patients who also have erosive esophagitis. This condition causes stomach acid to be forced back up into the throat. Over time, this can damage the throat. Esomeprazole sodium is classified as a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), which means that it works by limiting the amount of acid that the patient's stomach produces.
While one form of this medication is taken orally, or by mouth, esomeprazole sodium is administered in the form of injections. It is intended for short-term treatment only. Patients may receive the injections for no longer than 10 days. Following this round of medicine, the doctor will typically switch the patient to the pill form of this drug. Patients will go to the hospital to receive the injections, which are administered into a vein.
Some side effects may occur with the use of esomeprazole sodium to treat GERD, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. These may include heartburn, belching, and a sour stomach. Patients have reported stomach upset, diarrhea, and flatulence. Nausea, vertigo, and pain or tenderness in the facial area have also occurred. Other possible side effects may include constipation, sneezing, and a stuffy or runny nose, along with wheezing, dryness of the mouth, and burning or soreness at the injection site.
More serious side effects require a doctor's urgent care. Esomeprazole may sometimes cause a fever, rapid heartbeat, and chills, along with severe dizziness and joint or muscle pain. Darkened urine, loss of appetite, and severe pain in the stomach that may radiate to the back may also occur. Other serious side effects may include tightness in the chest, jaundice, and sores in the mouth or on the lips, along with red skin lesions and difficulty swallowing.
Before using esomeprazole sodium, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements to avoid a possible interaction. As of 2011, it is unknown whether the drug may pass into breast milk to harm a nursing infant. Women who are pregnant should discuss possible risks with their doctors, but it is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. Esomeprazole sodium may be contraindicated for use by those with liver disease or osteoporosis. It may interact with other drugs and supplements, including cranberry supplements, blood-thinners, and methotrexate, along with nelfinavir, nilotinib, and posaconazole.