What Is the Difference between Omeprazole and Esomeprazole?

Jay Leone

Omeprazole and esomeprazole are both proton-pump inhibitors used to control and ultimately decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach. There are only subtle differences between these two medications. While both omeprazole and esomeprazole are available by prescription, mild forms of omeprazole are available over the counter. As with any medication, a doctor should be consulted before beginning a regimen involving omeprazole or esomeprazole.

A doctor can offer consultation on starting a regimen of omeprazole or esomeprazole.
A doctor can offer consultation on starting a regimen of omeprazole or esomeprazole.

These medications are designed to block acid production in the stomach and alleviate symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a condition in which overproduction of stomach acid causes heartburn;the condition can potentially damage the esophagus if the constant flow of acid through the stomach does not allow adequate time for damaged tissues to heal. Both omeprazole and esomeprazole can be taken to prevent further damage to the esophagus, allowing it to heal. The drugs can also be used as treatments for stomach ulcers in certain cases.

Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.
Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.

Both meprazole and esomeprazole can be used as part of a treatment plan to prevent the return of ulcers caused by Heliobacter pylori (sometimes known as H. Pylori), a type of bacteria. In patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, another disease that results in the production of too much acid, these drugs can also be effective. Non-prescription strength omeprazole is often employed to treat frequent heartburn, or heartburn that occurs twice or more daily.

Side effects of esomeprazole may include stomach pain.
Side effects of esomeprazole may include stomach pain.

Prescription omeprazole is available in delayed-release capsules as well as in packets of delayed-release granules that can be mixed with liquids and ingested. Prescription esomeprazole, however, is only available in delayed-release capsule form. These capsules can be opened and their contents mixed with liquids such as water if patients choose not to swallow them whole. Both medications are designed to be taken about an hour before a meal. Omeprazole and esomeprazole are taken between one and three times daily as outlined by a physician's treatment plan.

Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD who are unable to benefit from a reflux wedge may require a feeding tube.
Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD who are unable to benefit from a reflux wedge may require a feeding tube.

People who are about to begin a treatment plan involving either of these medications should be aware that they may experience some side effects. Certain side effects associated with omeprazole include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Some side effects linked with esomeprazole use include dry mouth, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and headache. Patients who experience an irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the tongue, lips, eyes, face or hands after taking these medications may be experiencing allergic reactions and should stop taking the medication immediately and consult a physician.

Side effects of omeprazole may include headache.
Side effects of omeprazole may include headache.
Warning signs of an allergic reaction may include a swollen tongue.
Warning signs of an allergic reaction may include a swollen tongue.
Side effects of omeprazole may include fever.
Side effects of omeprazole may include fever.
Drinking plenty of water may help decrease the symptoms of acid reflux.
Drinking plenty of water may help decrease the symptoms of acid reflux.
Signs of an allergic reaction may include swollen lips.
Signs of an allergic reaction may include swollen lips.

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Discussion Comments

anon333862

I have taken omeprazole in the past and did not have relief from my chest pain, so my doctor just recently prescribed nexium (esomeprazole). I am hoping this will work if there is any difference between the two. I have had major heart examination tests with normal results.

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