For those who suffer from gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) understand that taking the right medication for their heartburn means making a careful decision. After all, taking the wrong medication may mean experiencing symptoms that are even worse than before. So, it is not surprising that medications labeled as protein pump inhibitors (PPI) which reduce the amount of acid the stomach produces are some of the most popular on the market today.
The proton pumps in your stomach produce the hydrochloric acid which helps break down the food that you consume. In fact, stomach acid is really a good thing as it aids digestion. However, when it comes into contact with your esophagus it can end up burning the tissues inside and cause coughing, pneumonia and even asthma in certain cases.
Arguably the two most common brands, Prilosec and Nexium, have accounted for much of the market when it comes to PPI medications. They are both highly publicized and reap many millions of dollars for their manufacturers. However, since these drugs operate on the same basic principle of PPI, just how much are they different in terms of their effects?
Both Prilosec and Nexium inhibit the action of the proton pumps in your stomach and they are generally taken about a half-hour before eating so that the stomach does not produce the amount of acid it normally would when it comes into contact with food. In addition, both medications will need several days of use before they reach full effect.
In addition, both of these drugs are generally prescribed for similar conditions which includes having GERD, heartburn, inflammation of the esophagus, ulcers in the stomach and duodenal and having Zollinger-Ellison syndrome where the stomach produces too much acid.
The differences between each medication are relatively minor as they both work in the same basic way to control the amount of stomach acid that is being produced. In addition, the chemical structure of both medications is relatively similar as well.
However, there are some differences between the medications that are based on the many studies that have been performed over the years on each drug. This means that depending upon the particular conditions that a person suffers from, they may benefit from taking one drug over another.
According to published studies, Nexium does seem to have a better effect on the conditions created by GERD than Prilosec as well as providing slightly faster relief as well. Basically, it was found that after the first week those who took Nexium enjoyed better overall relief than Prilosec, but after that week was over with both drugs had the same effect.
These differences however are indeed minor for most people and the main one that many will be looking for is the price. Since both drugs are now available over the counter, that price difference may be dropping as well which means that for most people taking either Nexium or Prilosec will not make much difference in terms of the relief that they enjoy over the long term.