Nexium for Heartburn: Is It Safe?

Friday, 10 Jan 2014 03:23 AM

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Heartburn is a condition in which irritation is caused in the esophagus due to acid reflux from the stomach. This leads to gastroesophageal reflux disease called GERD.
 
Many medications such as Nexium are available for heartburn that helps counter acid reflux by reducing the acid production level in the stomach. However, such medications often cause side effects since they alter the natural metabolism. The safety aspect of using heartburn medication over a prolonged period of time to treat acid reflux and GERD is a topic that is constantly debated.

Special: Warning Signs of a 'Silent' Heart Attack

Safety of Taking Nexium as Heartburn Medication

Heartburn medications such as Nexium are proton pump inhibitors known to be effective in treating acid reflux and GERD. A recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology states that heartburn medication increased sleep quality and reduced GERD-associated sleep disturbances.

However, the side effects of taking heartburn medication need to be considered to ensure safety. The following are some of the side effects of heartburn medication (Nexium) taken to treat acid reflux and GERD.

Though GERD and acid reflux are controlled, heartburn medication such as Nexium can lead to severe diarrhea and watery stool. You need to consult your physician, if these conditions persist.

Taking heartburn medications such as Nexium over a long period of time can lead to
bone fractures and low magnesium levels. This is because, though heartburn medication helps cure acid reflux and the resulting GERD, it also affects the absorption of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and calcium in the intestines.

Some side effects of Nexium medication include muscle cramps, diarrhea, jerking muscle movements and jittery feeling, coughing, seizure, dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain.

Heartburn medications such as Nexium can also cause headaches and abdominal pain.

In children younger than 17, additional symptoms such as sleepiness and nausea are seen to accompany other side effects of Nexium and other heartburn medication.

In pediatric patients within one year of age, heartburn medications such as Nexium can cause increased heart rate, abnormal liver functions, and regurgitation

What Could Happen in Case of Heartburn Medication Overdose?

While taking heartburn medication for acid reflux and GERD, it is important to ensure that safety is not compromised. Nexium overdose can lead to the following: headaches, confusion, blurred vision, sweating, nausea, dry mouth, tremor, loss of coordination, seizure, and increased heart rate. For these reasons, it is best advised to avoid heartburn medication during pregnancy.
 
Can Nexium Be Taken During Pregnancy With Assured Safety?
 
During pregnancy, women are always advised to avoid taking additional medication, since it can interfere with the growth of the fetus.
 
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, heartburn medication can be taken during pregnancy to counter acid reflux and GERD without the fear of birth defects in a newborn. However, another study published by the American College of Gastroentology reveals that the pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen and chest due to heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD seem to disappear naturally post-pregnancy and after childbirth.

Consulting your physician before taking heartburn medication during pregnancy is highly advised for your safety.

Special: Warning Signs of a 'Silent' Heart Attack

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