Nexium and Prilosec are drugs that belong to a class of medications known as proton pump inhibitors. Proton pump inhibitors are drugs that decrease production of acid in the stomach in order to allow sores in the lining of the stomach and esophagus to heal. Long-term use of Nexium and Prilosec may lead to several adverse side effects.
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According to the Nexium website, long-term suppression of stomach acid using Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors may lead to the growth of fungus in the lining of the esophagus. Normally, stomach acid kills fungus and other microorganisms that enter the body through food consumption. Esophageal candidiadiasis causes painful swallowing and is treated using antifungal medication.
According to MayoClinic.com, Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors are metabolized in the liver. The liver breaks down Prilosec and Nexium into byproducts that can be easily removed from the body. Long-term exposure of the liver to high levels of proton pump inhibitors leads to liver impairment due to damage of liver cells. Signs of liver damage include itching, yellowing of the skin and eyes, upper right abdominal pain, clay colored stool and dark urine.
MayoClinic.com states that long-term use of proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec and Nexium may increase the risk of bone fractures in the body. Prilosec and Nexium suppress stomach acid which inhibits adequate absorption of calcium from foods. Bone fractures are more common in older adults who have been taking high doses of proton inhibitors for a longtime.
According to the Nexium website, Nexium use may cause pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas. Use of Prilosec may also cause pancreatitis. The pancreas is an important organ that releases insulin and glucagon which are important for control of blood sugar levels. Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal pain, fatty stool, fever, chills, nausea, jaundice and weight loss.