Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach, creating a burning sensation. This tube is called the esophagus and GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – closest to the stomach – does not close properly a allows Reflux, by definition, means to ‘flow back’. Hiatal hernias are often the cause of the weaker LES and may be one factor leading to GERD.
What is the difference between GERD and Heartburn?
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the most common digestive complaint in the United States is heartburn. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and is caused by the irritation of your lining of the esophagus by stomach acids. When acid reflux occurs on a regular basis, the patient more than likely has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Symptoms of acid reflux include:
How is GERD treated?
GERD can often be treated by simple lifestyle changes such as avoiding foods that create symptoms. Medications may be used to treat symptoms as well. Medication treatment often starts with over the counter (OTC) medications such as an antacid or an acid production blocker. If GERD persists, a health care provider may assist and prescribe stronger medications. Dexilant® is only one example. There are many different medication options. Please do speak with your healthcare professional about the various options available. However, this article will focus on Dexilant®.
Dexilant® is a common medication used for the treatment of GERD and is often available at a lower cost from Canadian pharmacy compared to a pharmacy located in the United States. The active ingredient in Dexilant® is dexlansoprazole. Dexilant® is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that works by reducing acid production in the stomach. It is prescribed to treat heartburn associated with GERD and to promote the healing of damaged esophagus tissue. It may provide up to 24 hours of relief from heartburn due to GERD. It may also provide relief from other stomach and esophageal symptoms such as persistent cough or trouble swallowing.
Dexilant® contains dexlansoprazole in a mixture of two types of enteric-coated granules. These granules release medication in two ways – it delivers the first release of medication in the stomach within the first hour of taking the capsule. The second round of medication is released into your system 4 to 5 hours later while working its way through your intestine. By taking Dexilant®, damage from acid in the esophagus and stomach may heal faster and certain types of cancers of the esophagus and ulcers may be prevented.
How do I take Dexilant®?
Dexilant® is taken orally once daily. It can be taken with or without food. This medication is available in two doses:
Delixant® should not be chewed or crushed but needs to be swallowed whole for effectiveness. Those who have trouble swallowing pills may open the capsule and mix the granules into a tablespoon of food, such as applesauce and eat it immediately. Do not chew the granules as this will destroy the modified release characteristics of the medication.
Talk to your doctor if you take antacids or other medications.
Store Dexilant out of the reach of children in a closed container at room temperature. Keep it away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight.
What are the side effects of Dexilant®?
The most common side effects are stomach pain, diarrhea, flatulence (gas), nausea and vomiting, and upper respiratory infections like the common cold.
Serious side effects to be aware of include symptoms of low magnesium such as muscle spasms, seizures, unusually fast or irregular heartbeat, or signs of lupus (joint pain, rash on nose and cheeks).
Vitamin B-12 deficiencies have been known to occur on a rare occasion, but if you take Dexilant® for more than 3 years the risk increases. Speak to your doctor is you are concerned about a b12 deficiency.
Some side effects that occur may go away during treatment and most usually do not require medication attention. However, always consult with your healthcare professional regarding any side effects.
As this list is not posted in its entirety, always speak to your doctor and pharmacist about all the side effects to be aware of. Our Canadian pharmacy has pharmacists available to speak with you about GERD and the various treatment options.
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