Nexium, or esomeprazole, is a drug that is used to treat heartburn and excessive amounts of acid in the stomach. Specifically, it is used to treat duodenal and gastric ulcers, esophagitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Nexium is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Other drugs that are in the same class as Nexium include Prevacid and Prilosec. Approximately 15 million Americans use PPIs that are sold both as prescription and over-the-counter. Nexium sales exceed $3 billion a year.
- 2019 Update: These drugs have had a troubled history. Zantac, which was long considered a great and safe drug, has now been associated with cancer.
Nexium is a controversial drug. At one point, bone fracture lawsuits were all the rage because there was data suggesting Nexium, particularly the long-term use of Nexium, would cause bone fractures and breaks. We believed many of these cases were meritorious. But the litigation did not get very far.