Nexium shown to reduce risk of ulcers

Nexium offers relief from heartburn.
Nexium offers relief from heartburn and could prevent ulcers.
It’s not uncommon for the average person to pop an aspirin now and then for pain.  A minor headache or strained muscles often send us to the medicine cabinet for relief, but for some people an aspirin simply won’t cut it.  Millions of people suffer from chronic pain that one painkiller won’t deal with.

Effects of taking pain relievers

When a patient has to take high doses of painkillers, called NSAIDs or anti-inflammatory drugs, it can lead to other problems.  While pain may be reduced, stomach ulcers may develop as a side effect.  Of the more than 14 million Americans who use NSAIDs regularly to treat chronic pain, up to 25% may be affected by NSAID-related ulcers.  Doctors say it is a common problem, but a new study may offer an answer.

The study shows Nexium, a pill prescribed for acid reflux, may prevent the ulcers that grow as a result of taking painkillers.  The study tracked close to 1,500 patients that take painkillers at least five times a week.  The patients, who were predominately taking NSAIDs to deal with arthritis pain, were tracked for six months.  Some patients were given Nexium along with their painkillers and others were given a placebo.  At the end of the study about 96% of the patients taking Nexium remained ulcer free.

Additional uses of Nexium

Ulcers can cause intense stomach pain.
Ulcers can cause intense stomach pain.

It is another use of the purple pill that is commonly prescribed for chronic heart burn where acid flows backward from the stomach to the throat and causes a burning sensation.  It often damages the esophagus, the pipe that carries food to your stomach. Nexium is known to heal the esophagus and battle persistent heartburn.

Now, the drug has one more use. Nexium was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to be used to prevent ulcers for patients taking painkillers long term.

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