Prescription esomeprazole comes as a delayed-release (releases the medication in the intestine to prevent break-down of the medication by stomach acids) capsule to take by mouth or to open, mix with water, and give through a feeding tube, and as packets of delayed-release (releases the medication in the intestine to prevent break-down of the medication by stomach acids) granules for suspension (to be mixed with water) to take by mouth or give through a feeding tube. Nonprescription (over-the-counter) esomeprazole comes as a delayed-release capsule and tablet to take by mouth. Prescription esomeprazole is usually taken once a day at least 1 hour before a meal. When prescription esomeprazole is used to treat certain conditions in which the stomach makes too much acid, it is taken twice a day. The nonprescription delayed-release capsules and tablets are usually taken once a day in the morning at least 1 hour before eating for 14 days in a row. If needed, additional 14-day treatments may be repeated, not more often than once every 4 months.
Take esomeprazole at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take esomeprazole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor or stated on the package.
Swallow the capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. If you cannot swallow the capsule, put 1 tablespoon of cool, soft applesauce in an empty bowl. Open one esomeprazole capsule and carefully sprinkle the pellets onto the applesauce. Mix the pellets with the applesauce and swallow the entire tablespoonful of the applesauce and pellet mixture immediately. Do not crush or chew the pellets in the applesauce. Do not save the pellets and applesauce for later use.
If you are taking the granules for oral suspension, you will need to mix it with water before use. If you are using the 2.5- or 5-mg packet, place 1 teaspoonful (5 mL) of water in a container. If you are using the 10-, 20-, or 40-mg packet, place 1 tablespoonful (15 mL) of water in a container. Add the contents of the powder packet and stir. Wait 2 to 3 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken, and stir the mixture again. Drink the entire mixture within 30 minutes. If any of the mixture is stuck to the container, pour more water into the container, stir and drink all the mixture immediately.
The granules and the contents of the prescription delayed-release capsules can both be given through a feeding tube. If you have a feeding tube, ask your doctor or pharmacist how you should take the medication. Follow those directions carefully.
Do not take nonprescription esomeprazole for immediate relief of heartburn symptoms. It may take 1 to 4 days for you to feel the full benefit of the medication. Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or do not improve after 14 days or if your symptoms return sooner than 4 months after you finish your treatment. Do not take nonprescription esomeprazole for longer than 14 days or treat yourself with esomeprazole more often than once every 4 months without talking to your doctor.
Continue to take prescription esomeprazole, even if you feel well. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve during this time. Do not stop taking esomeprazole without talking to your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
There are four approaches for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) treatment, including medication and surgery. Often, patients respond well to a combination of lifestyle changes and a medication regimen.
Some patients do not find satisfactory relief from those methods and require surgical intervention. Other patients may choose surgery as an alternative to a lifetime of taking medication.
Treatment Approaches for GERD
GERD Treatment: Lifestyle and Dietary Changes
Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first step in treating GERD. Certain foods make the reflux worse. Suggestions to help alleviate symptoms include:
GERD Treatment: Medication
If lifestyle and dietary changes do not work, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. There are two categories of medicines for reflux. One decreases the level of acid in your stomach, and one increases the level of motility (movement) in the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Over-the-counter antacids are best for intermittent and relatively infrequent symptoms of reflux. When taken frequently, antacids may worsen the problem. They leave the stomach quickly, and your stomach actually increases acid production as a result.
Histamine 2 (H2) blockers are drugs that help lower acid secretion. H2 blockers heal esophageal erosions in about 50 percent of patients.
Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are drugs that block the three major pathways for acid production. PPIs suppress acid production much more effectively than H2 blockers. PPIs heal erosive esophagitis in many patients, even those with severe esophageal damage.
Prokinetic agents are drugs that enhance the activity of the smooth muscle of your gastrointestinal tract. These drugs are somewhat less effective than PPIs. Your doctor may prescribe them in combination with an acid-suppressing drug.
TIF and Other Endoscopic Therapy
Transoral incisionless fundoplication (TIF) is an option to address GERD. TIF can mean a shorter treatment time, less pain and faster recovery compared to laparoscopic surgery. The procedure involves using a special TIF device to create a passageway for a flexible, tube-like imaging instrument called an endoscope. The procedure allows the physician to use preloaded tweezers and fasteners to repair or recreate the valve that serves as a natural barrier to reflux.
Currently, there are clinical trials testing the efficacy of endoscopic therapy for GERD. One form of therapy uses an endoscopic sewing machine to place sutures in the stomach and increase the anti-reflux barrier.
If your symptoms did not improve with lifestyle changes or drug therapy, you may be a candidate for surgery. Some patients prefer a surgical approach as an alternative to a lifetime of taking medications. The goal of surgery for reflux disease is to strengthen the anti-reflux barrier.
During a procedure known as a Nissen fundoplication, your surgeon wraps the upper part of your stomach around the lower esophagus. This enhances the anti-reflux barrier and can provide permanent relief from reflux. Your surgeon may perform this surgery laparoscopically, which means a less invasive procedure with a shorter recovery time.
Reflux may affect more than just the esophagus. Reflux can lead to inflammation of the pharynx (part of the throat right behind the mouth) and larynx (voice box). It may also cause bronchitis, asthma or pneumonia. If there are no obvious causes for the inflammation, your doctor may suspect reflux. The goal of treatment is to improve the symptoms through medication.
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Suggested indications of intravenous proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)