Nexium Side Effects

Common side effects of Nexium that usually resolve without treatment include nausea, headache and gas. Proton pump inhibitor users are at an increased risk of long-term or severe side effects such as skin rash, bone fractures, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and chronic kidney disease.

Last Modified: September 7, 2023
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Common Side Effects of Nexium

Common side effects of Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium) include headache, abdominal pain, dry mouth and nausea. During six-month clinical trials, researchers reported similar side effects between trial participants taking short-term Nexium, a proton pump inhibitor, and people taking it for up to a year for maintenance treatment.

Nexium side effects include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Gas
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you experience adverse side effects of Nexium that persist or worsen, tell your doctor right away.

Serious Side Effects of Nexium

Severe Nexium side effects have occurred in less than 1% of people who took the medication. In most cases, dosage, duration of treatment and existing allergies may affect the risk of developing any serious complications from using the drug.

Serious side effects of esomeprazole include:
  • Acute liver failure
  • Anaphylactic shock (life-threatening allergic reaction)
  • Agranulocytosis (potentially life-threatening white blood cell deficiency)
  • Blurred vision
  • Bone fractures
  • Bronchospasm (narrowing airways)
  • Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea
  • Fundic gland polyps (growth of upper stomach lining)
  • Gastrointestinal candidiasis (fungal infection)
  • Gynecomastia (abnormal growth of men’s breasts)
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (brain impairment)
  • Hepatitis
  • Hypomagnesemia (severe magnesium deficiency)
  • Interstitial nephritis (kidney disease)
  • Microscopic colitis (inflammation of inner lining of the colon)
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancytopenia (blood cell deficiency)
  • Psychiatric effects (aggression, agitation, depression, hallucinations)
  • Skin conditions (blisters, peeling or bleeding)
  • Stomatitis (inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (immune system condition that can cause organ damage)
  • Taste disturbance

Other significant side effects that affect skin and underlying tissues include alopecia (hair loss), erythema (skin redness and swelling, often with a rash) and an unusual sensitivity to light. Although rare, some people can develop Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a flu-like reaction with painful rashes and blisters, or potentially fatal toxic epidermal necrolysis (peeling of the skin).

Can I Take Nexium Every Day?

The typical dosage of Nexium is once or twice a day for the duration of treatment. However, like most PPIs, the drug’s long-term effects on bones can increase your risk of fracturing the spine, hips or wrists.

You may be more vulnerable to developing fundic polyps if you’re taking a PPI. Studies show that high-dosage or long-term use (12 months or longer) of PPIs may further elevate the risk of fragility in bone structure.

If you need to take a PPI such as esomeprazole, discuss the potential side effects with your doctor. You can minimize your risk to bone fractures and other complications by only using PPIs when necessary.

Are There Long-Term Nexium Side Effects?

Prolonged use of PPIs can cause long-term side effects that impact quality of life. One example is bone fractures, which occur when low acidity levels in the stomach reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium, a mineral that is vital for bone health.

Decreased acidity in the digestive system can inhibit absorption of magnesium, another essential mineral in the body, causing hypomagnesemia. Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, vitamin B12 deficiency and community-acquired pneumonia are additional potential risks to take into account before starting a PPI.

Irreversible memory problems may also occur, according to a 2022 study published in the European Journal of Neurology. Researchers concluded that 4.4% of participants who started a PPI developed dementia compared to only 1.3% of patients who did not.

Is Nexium Associated with Kidney Damage?

Long-term and inappropriate use of PPIs like Nexium have been linked to kidney problems. It can increase the risk of developing acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury.

Kidney damage may be irreversible and can progress to organ failure. A 2018 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Nephrology involved chronic kidney disease patients with long-term use of PPIs. It showed that more than a year after discontinuing the medication, kidney function had still not improved.

Left unchecked, the complication can progress to end-stage kidney failure. Some people have filed PPI Nexium lawsuits, claiming a connection between prolonged use of the drug and their severe kidney complications. Lawsuits allege manufacturer AstraZeneca knew and concealed PPI facts about kidney issues.

Is There a Link Between Nexium and Cancer?

The use of PPIs such as Nexium may increase the risk of some cancers. A 2022 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology found that patients who used PPIs were at greater risk of developing gastric, pancreatic, colorectal and liver cancer.

It did not find an association between PPI use and esophageal cancer. They also found the PPI use was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Another population-based study, published in the BMJ gastroenterology journal Gut, found the use of proton pump inhibitors is associated with a 45% increased risk of gastric cancer compared with the use of histamine-2 receptor antagonists. H2 antagonist products include Pepcid, Tagamet and Axid.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.