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Difference Between Zantac and Nexium

Common structure of proton pump inhibitors

Zantac vs Nexium

What are Zantac and Nexium?
Zantac is the trade name of of a drug called as ranitidine which is a histamine H2-receptor. It is used in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease (PUD), dyspepsia i.e. acidity, stress ulcer prevention, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nexium is the trade name for a drug molecule called ‘esomeprazole’ that belongs to group of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Esomeprazole is a compound that inhibits gastric acid secretion and is indicated in the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the healing of erosive esophagitis, and H. pylori eradication to reduce the risk of duodenal ulcer recurrence.

Difference in functioning
An H2-receptor antagonist, often known as H2 antagonist, is a drug which is used to block the action of substance histamine on parietal cells in the stomach, thereby decreasing the acid production by these cells. Zantac and similar drugs are used in the treatment of dyspepsia, but due to the discovery of more effective proton inhibitors their use has waned. The H2-antagonists suppress the normal secretion of acid by parietal cells and the meal-stimulated secretion of acid. They accomplish this by two mechanisms: histamine released by enterochromaffin-like cells in the stomach is blocked from binding on parietal cell H2 receptors which stimulate acid secretion, and other substances that promote acid secretion (such as gastrin and acetylcholine) have a reduced effect on parietal cells when the H2 receptors are blocked. The bioavailability of this drug is 50% of the dose taken orally. Zantac can be prescribed in tablets, granules, or in a form of syrup all via an oral route by mouth. Symptoms of overdose include muscular tremors, vomiting, and rapid respiration. Zantac can be taken at any time of the day. Zantac does not lower serum Ca++ in hypercalcemic states.

Esomeprazole belongs to a new class of anti-secretory compounds, the substituted benzimidazoles, that do not exhibit anti-cholinergic or H2 histamine antagonistic properties, but that suppress gastric acid secretion by specific inhibition of the H+/K+ ATPase at the secretory surface of the gastric parietal cell. By doing this, it inhibits acid secretion into the gastric lumen. This effect is dose-related and leads to inhibition of both basal and stimulated acid secretion irrespective of the stimulus. By acting specifically on the proton pump, Esomeprazole blocks the final step in acid production, thus reducing gastric acidity.

Nexium can be purchased in vials, capsules, and oral suspension in delayed-release forms. An overdose of Nexium causes blurred vision, confusion, drowsiness, dry mouth, flushing headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating. Taking a proton pump inhibitor such as Nexium may increase your risk of bone fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine. This effect has occurred mostly in people who have taken the medication for long time or in high doses, and in those who are age 50 and older. It is not clear whether Nexium is the actual cause of an increased risk of fracture. Before you take this medication, inform your doctor if you have osteoporosis or osteopenia (low bone mineral density). Nexium should be taken at least 1 hour before meals. Swallow the whole capsule, never chew or crush. If swallowing is difficult, then open and empty a capsule in a tablespoon of applesauce and swallow it right away. Do not keep it for later use.

Summary:
Zantac and Nexium are both drugs that work on the cells in the stomach to reduce symptoms like burning sensation in the stomach, heaviness, pain due to ulcer etc. The method of functioning is different for the two drugs and thus, their usage differs from case to case. A qualified physician is the best person to recommend you the right drug for your gastric troubles.


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1 Comment

  1. Some of the information in this article is not correct.

    Prilosec is NOT the generic name of Nexium. (There is currently no generic form of Nexium.) Prilosec is a mixture of R and S enantiomers of omeprazole. Nexium is only the S enantiomer of omeprazole. The active ingredient in Prilosec is Omeprazole. The active ingredient in Nexium is esomeprazole magnesium.

    This information is available on the manufacturer’s websites. Perhaps someone should do a better job of researching before providing medical advice!

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