Generic Nexium Now Approved

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Nexium (esomeprazole) is indicated for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—better known as acid reflux or heartburn. The approval of generic esomeprazole comes following the arrival of over-the-counter Nexium 24HR last year, and could mean even lower prices and more flexibility when it comes to treating GERD.

What is GERD exactly?

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach comes back up through your esophagus and irritates its lining. GERD can be caused by lifestyle factors (including being overweight, smoking, stress, and eating too much at once) as well as various foods—particularly spicy, acidic, and fried or fatty foods, but also caffeine, alcohol, soda, chocolate, and mint flavorings.

When will generic esomeprazole be available?

The manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, has stated that they have plans to launch esomeprazole in the near future. Previously, another manufacturer, Ranbaxy, had exclusive rights to make the generic, but they recently lost that exclusivity, opening up opportunities for other companies to make generic Nexium available.

How will generic esomeprazole be available?

Same as brand-name Nexium, esomeprazole will be available as a capsule in 20 mg and 40 mg strengths. However, there is still no generic approved for the packets of powder for oral suspension.

How is esomeprazole usually taken?

The typical maintenance dose of esomeprazole is 20 mg or 40 mg ONCE daily.

What are the most common side effects?

Some common side effects of esomeprazole include headache, diarrhea, nausea, gas, stomach pain, sleepiness, constipation, and dry mouth.

What type of medication is esomeprazole and how does it work?
Esomeprazole is considered a proton-pump inhibitor or PPI. PPIs work by turning off some of the pumps in your stomach that create acid.

Esomeprazole, like other PPIs, may take 1 – 4 days for full effect, but relief usually lasts for a full 24 hours.

For more information on how Nexium (esomeprazole) works please see the Nexium website here.

Are there any medications that are similar to Nexium (esomeprazole)?

Yes. These other PPIs are similar to Nexium (esomeprazole):

Both Prilosec and Prevacid also have over-the-counter (OTC) versions available just like Nexium 24HR. Prilosec is available as Prilosec OTC, and Prevacid is available as Prevacid 24HR.

All but Dexilant are also available as generics at your local pharmacy with a valid prescription from your doctor, though generic Prilosec, Prevacid, and Protonix will have the lowest cash prices.

What if my doctor wants to keep me on brand-name Nexium?

If your doctor would like to keep you on brand-name Nexium you may have two options.

Your first option is to have your doctor write your Nexium prescription as BRAND MEDICALLY NECESSARY. This means that the pharmacy is not permitted to automatically substitute your brand medication, Nexium, for the generic medication, esomeprazole. Be aware though, your insurance may not cover the brand now that the generic is available.

The manufacturer, AztraZeneca, does have a Nexium Savings Card that can help reduce the cost of the medication. If you qualify you may pay as little as $15 per month or $30 for a 90 day supply of brand-name Nexium.

Your second option is to buy Nexium 24HR over-the-counter. Nexium 24HR is the same medication that previously required a prescription. However, Nexium 24HR is only available over-the-counter in the 20 mg capsules, so if you need the 40 mg strength, this option may not work for you.

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