Nexium belongs to a group of drugs known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These drugs work by blocking the sites in your stomach responsible for the production of acid and the final result is decrease of stomach acid. More specifically, all PPIs reduce secretion of gastric acid inhibiting enzyme known as H+/K+-ATPase, located in parietal cells of the stomach. Inhibiting the activity of this particular enzyme, PPIs are able to prevent production of stomach (or sometimes called gastric) acid.
Nexium is chemically esomeprazole magnesium, but some call it “the purple pill” because capsules are purple in color and depending on the strength, they have two or three golden rings on them. It is used to treat number of medical conditions associated with stomach acid in some way. Nexium can be used as the treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), erosive esophagitis, Helicobacter pylori infection and prevention of ulcers in people using NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin). This medication is also useful in patients suffering from diseases connected with hyper-secretion of stomach acid, like in Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.
Nexium lowers the amount of stomach acid and helps decreasing GERD symptoms and also healing the damage that stomach acid has caused to stomach, esophagus or intestines of the patient. This drug is also used as the treatment for people suffering from dyspepsia.
Generic Nexium is still not available on the market, and there is a remote possibility to appear in 2014. For the time being AstraZeneca holds patent for this medication and because of that there is no generic Nexium produced in the United States.
Esomeprasole magnesium is an active component in this drug, but this substance is not generic Nexium. Being generic drug means that it is off-patent and someone else produces the product, beside the original company. Some manufacturers of generic medications and AstraZeneca are currently suing, and only after resolution of this matter it will be possible to predict availability of generic Nexium on the market.
Other PPI Drugs
Since Nexium is just one of medications in the PPIs group, there are other medications having the same way of action. Some of them are available only as prescription drugs, such as Dexlansoprazole (Dexilant™), Lansoprazole (Prevacid®), Omeprazole (Prilosec®), Omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid®), Pantoprazole (Protonix®) and Rabeprazole (AcipHex®).
There are also some PPIs available without prescription, and in the drugstores you can find medications like Prevacid® 24HR, Prilosec OTC® and Zegerid OTC™.