Esomeprazole is a medication that helps to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach. It can be taken for heartburn, acid reflux, indigestion or to treat stomach ulcers. It is part of a group of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
What is Esomeprazole?
- Stomach acid is necessary for digesting food and killing any bacteria that could make you unwell
- When your stomach is healthy, a layer of mucous is produced to act as a barrier so that the acid doesn’t damage the lining of the stomach
- In some people, the barrier breaks down and the acid can cause stomach inflammation or an ulcer
- Esomeprazole reduces the amount of acid the stomach produces, helping to relieve symptoms
- Esomeprazole also aids repair of the stomach
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Esomeprazole Work?
Proton Pump Inhibitors such as esomeprazole reduce the amount of acid being produced by the lining of the stomach. Reducing the acid reduces the irritation to the stomach and helps to prevent ulcers forming. If damage has already occurred, esomeprazole can promote healing of the stomach lining. This reduces feelings of indigestion and stomach pain.
Acid reflux occurs when the excess acid that is being produced escapes out of the stomach up into the oesophagus (food pipe). This gives the sensation of heartburn, a burning, painful sensation in the middle of the chest. As esomeprazole helps to reduce the amount of acid being produced, it can help to relieve symptoms of acid reflux, too.
Esomeprazole is similar to another PPI called omeprazole. They are made of the same ingredients, but their chemical make-up is slightly different. Esomeprazole is processed more slowly than omeprazole. This means it might work faster and last longer than omeprazole. If you take other medications, esomeprazole is less likely than omeprazole to interact with them.
How is Esomeprazole Taken?
Esomeprazole is usually taken once a day in the morning. It can be taken with or without food.
The tablets should be swallowed with a drink of water.
Esomeprazole 20mg / Esomeprazole 40mg
What is the proper dosage of Esomeprazole?
Esomeprazole comes in two strengths: 20mg and 40mg. Your dose may depend on your reason for taking it.
For heartburn, acid reflux or stomach ulcers a common dose is 20mg each day.
For gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, you may be prescribed between 20mg and 40mg each day.
Your dose might be increased if esomeprazole does not seem to be working very well.
Are there any side effects to Esomeprazole?
Like all medications, esomeprazole can have some side effects. The most common side effects with esomeprazole include:
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
- Stomach pain
- Excess wind.
These side effects are likely to resolve but you can speak to a medical professional if they don’t settle within a few days.
Occasionally a serious side effect can occur. You should speak to a doctor straight away if you have:
- Joint pain or changes to your skin – this could be a sign of subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus
- Yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes, dark urine (pee) or pale stools (poo) – this could be a sign of liver disease.
If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
What warnings does Esomeprazole come with?
Esomeprazole may not be a suitable medication choice for everyone, including some people who:
- Have liver problems
- Have problems digesting glucose or sucrose
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to esomeprazole or another medication
- Are due to have an endoscopy (as esomeprazole may cause unreliable results).