Today’s consumer is so much more knowledgeable than ever before because information is readily available, at the click of a mouse, on the Internet. This is especially true when researching medications such as Nexium vs. Prilosec. In years gone by, it was necessary to find a PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) but that information was often beyond the scope of our understanding.
The following information on both Nexium and Prilosec is in laymen’s terms to help you to better understand what the two medications are if you are suffering from any of the conditions for which they are prescribed. This information is not meant to replace proper medical advice and it is always recommended that you consult with your own doctor prior to taking any medications for the first time.
Nexium vs. Prilosec – What Are They?
Both Nexium and Prilosec are in a class of drugs called ‘proton pump inhibitors’ which work by decreasing the amount of acid produced in the stomach. They are both commonly prescribed for conditions such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), for the treatment and prevention of stomach ulcers, and other conditions such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Usually when you are comparing Nexium vs. Prilosec it would be for a more serious condition as mentioned above.
Neither medication is recommended for incidental heartburn as they do not work immediately to reduce acid indigestion. In fact, it can take anywhere from one to four days for either medication to become effective, at which point the entire course needs to be carried out. You should not stop taking either medication until all doses have been taken.
Nexium vs. Prilosec – How They Are Sold
One of the first questions which many people have is in regards to how these two medications are sold. When considering Nexium vs. Prilosec, it is important to know that only one of these medications is currently available OTC. Only Prilosec is available over-the-counter while stronger Prilosec dosages are available still in prescription formulations.
The generic name for Prilosec is Omeprazole and the pharmaceutical name for Nexium is Esomeprazole. As you can see by their names, they are closely related and simply have a slightly different molecular structure. While you would need a prescription, as mentioned, for Nexium, you can readily purchase Prilosec OTC at most pharmacies and many supermarkets in the United States.
Nexium vs. Prilosec – How They Are Taken
Sometimes the most important ‘feature’ of a medication is how it is administered. For example, some people have trouble taking pills so they need liquid formulations while other times consumers don’t like to ‘taste’ the medicine so they prefer to take capsules or pills. When comparing how Nexium vs. Prilosec compare in regards to how they are taken, there is no difference.
Both Nexium and Prilosec are available in delayed release capsules and delayed release granules to be mixed with water. Both medications can also be fed through a feeding tube if necessary. Although you would need to follow the directions provided by your doctor/pharmacist, it is recommended that both medications be taken about an hour before eating.
Nexium vs. Prilosec Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
Although there are really few side effects being reported in regards to any of the proton pump inhibitors, it is possible to experience nausea, diarrhea, headaches or stomach pain/discomfort when taking either medication. This is perhaps the number one reason why many people compare Nexium vs. Prilosec; they just want to know if either medication will cause more or less discomfort and if either drug has more side effects than the other. Since both are proton pump inhibitors, it is likely they will both have closely related side effects if you are allergic to this class of pharmaceuticals.
As far as adverse reactions go, it is always advisable to talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist before taking any medications, especially if you are currently taking any medications, vitamins or natural supplements whatsoever. However, it is known that proton pump inhibitors, all of them, can react negatively with blood thinners such as Coumadin, diuretics, Cilostazol, Digoxin, Clopidogrel, Diazepam, Saquinavir and Iron. Since this is by no means a comprehensive list, always talk to your doctor before taking either Nexium or Prilosec if you are currently taking any medications.
Important Information and Special Precautions
When taking any medication, it is important to know if there are any special precautions which should be understood and observed. Again, when comparing Nexium vs. Prilosec, it is imperative that you understand that they are both in a class of pharmaceuticals called proton pump inhibitors. Neither medication is intended to work immediately nor should they be discontinued before all doses have been taken.
Also, it is important to understand that these medications do not work immediately – they are not intended to do so. This is perhaps the number one reason why a person may be tempted to take more than the recommended or prescribed dosage. They work by inhibiting the amount of acid produced in the stomach and this is a biological process which takes time to correct.
If, for any reason, you have taken too much of either Nexium or Prilosec watch for symptoms such as lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea and in extreme cases, a tightness or closing of the throat. It is recommended that you either call your local fire rescue at 911 if you feel as though you will lose consciousness or if you have found someone unconscious due to an accidental overdose. Otherwise, call your physician or pharmacist immediately if you feel you have taken too much of either drug.
Also, if you have missed a dose of either Nexium or Prilosec, take it immediately unless it is too close to the next dose. This is where you would need to use some good old fashioned common sense. For example, if you are taking a proton pump inhibitor once a day in the evening before your dinner and you discover at lunchtime that you forgot yesterday’s pill, it would be foolish to take it then as the next dose is only a couple of hours away. However, if you remember at bedtime that you forgot to take your medication, it is fine to take it then but you would most likely need a light snack afterwards as it is recommended to take both medications an hour before eating.
Finally, if you have any other medical conditions or diseases whatsoever, you should discuss with your physician the advisability of taking either medication. Anyone with liver or kidney dysfunction is at particular risk. Pregnant or lactating women should not take any medications without first consulting with their doctors and anyone with calcium deficiencies should likewise use caution. Proton pump inhibitors are known to make some people more susceptible to fractures, especially of the wrists, ankles, hips and back.
When comparing Nexium vs. Prilosec many people also like to know what others are saying about the products. Since Nexium is only available in prescription form, you will only find consumer reviews from individuals who were prescribed Nexium for very specific conditions or diseases. For this reason, keep in mind that a medical doctor or medical professional made a diagnosis and is treating it accordingly. In light of this, Nexium is getting rave reviews coming in at 9 out of 10.
On the other hand, Prilosec is available over-the-counter so that many people take it after self-diagnosing the problems they are experiencing. Consumers report that Prilosec didn’t relieve their acid indigestion, acid reflux or heartburn as it is sometimes called, and they gave Prilosec a review based on something it was never intended to do. That can be a real problem when it comes to OTC medications because consumers don’t take the time to read what the medication can and can’t do. For those consumers who either understood how proton pump inhibitors are meant to work or were prescribed Prilosec for a very specific condition such as GERD, the reviews are equally as positive as those pertaining to Nexium.
To be fair, unless you are comparing prescription strength Nexium vs. Prilosec there is not accurate way to determine which is the better medication. Since only Prilosec is available OTC in the United States at this point in time, it would be impossible to do a complete assessment. However, since they are both closely related in the category of proton pump inhibitors with a slightly different molecular structure, it might be safe to say that either one could do the job treating the above mentioned conditions for which they were intended.
Keep in mind that neither medication is intended for the immediate relief of excess acid nor should either medication be discontinued before the entire course is complete. Also, unless you have been previously diagnosed for a specific condition that will respond to a proton pump inhibitor, it is not suggested that you take either medication without first consulting with your doctor. When comparing Nexium vs. Prilosec, the main difference is in how they are sold, prescription or OTC. After that, they are quite similar all the way around.