Nexium Control review
Drug reviews

Nexium Control review. Is Nexium the best PPI?

Nexium Control is a branded version of esomeprazole drug, available without a prescription for treatment of heartburn and acid reflux in adults over 18 years of age. Nexium Control is available in the form of gastro-resistant tablets and capsules both containing 20mg of esomeprazole. Nexium Control is advertised as a product that gives relief from a single dose for 24 hours.   

In this post, I will review indications, possible side effects, interactions and effectiveness of Nexium Control in comparison to other proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). I will also write about the availability of Nexium (esomeprazole) on NHS.

Nexium Control indications of use

Esomeprazole belongs to a group of drugs called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) a common group of drugs used in the inhibition of stomach acid production. When prescribed, PPIs have other indications including treatment of ulcers and eradication of Helicobacter pylori.

Over the counter Nexium is licensed for the short-term treatment of heartburn, a burning sensation in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, in the chest and throat, caused by acid reflux. The general advice is to see a GP if symptoms are not resolved after 14 days of Nexium use.

Nexium Control may not give immediate relief of the symptoms, although the onset of action (the time it takes to work) is about one hour. It may take 2-3 days of continues use before symptoms resolve.

Nexium review of possible side effects

As with all medicines, there is a risk of experiencing some side effects, when Nexium Control is taken. Although the whole list of possible side effects is long, the most common side effects (1 in 10 people may be affected) include:

  • Upset stomach (diarrhoea, constipation, flatulence/wind, stomach pain)
  • Headache
  • Vomiting (being sick) and nausea (feeling sick)
  • Growth of polyps in the stomach

List of under uncommon (1 in 100), rare (1 in 1000) and very rare side effects can be found in the product information leaflet.

Nexium Control review  of drug interactions

Like many other drugs, Nexium Control is metabolised by the liver. Nexium Control competes in the liver for some enzymes and therefore affected drugs cannot be fully metabolised (broken down to its inactive form). As a result, concomitant use with other drugs may increase their concentration. Some drugs affected include:

  • warfarin,
  • phenytoin,
  • citalopram,
  • imipramine,
  • clomipramine,
  • tacrolimus

For more information on interactions between Nexium Control and other drugs, read product information leaflet or speak to your pharmacist.

Nexium review of the effectiveness

Several studies confirm the effectiveness of esomeprazole 20mg. When comparing with placebo (a dummy pill) in randomised studies (patient not aware of what treatment they receive), esomeprazole shown to be an effective treatment of heartburn symptoms, resulting in complete settlements of heartburn symptoms in patients who took a single dose of Nexium Control 20mg tablet, every 24 hours, in 2 week period (EMA, N.D.).

Esomeprazole versus omeprazole? What is the difference?

Both drugs, esomeprazole, and omeprazole belong to the same group of drugs, PPIs. Both drugs have the same chemical structure, however, a different arrangement of atoms ‘in space’ (the scientific name for this type of structure is optical isomer). This allowed AstraZeneca to market Nexium as a different drug to omeprazole, consequently calling it esomeprazole.

Is Nexium (esomeprazole) the best PPI available?

Scientific research suggests that esomeprazole has improved the pharmacokinetic profile, resulting in more effective control of stomach acid production as compared to omeprazole or other PPIs (Johnson, 2003). There is also less variability in how different people respond to treatment with esomeprazole (ibid). When compared to omeprazole 20mg, esomeprazole 20mg and 40mg had superior outcomes in three different areas: consistency, duration of action 24-hours cycle and the overall reduction of stomach acid production (Dent, 2003). As suggested by different scientific papers esomeprazole is more effective PPI then omeprazole. A large trial of over 5000 patients confirmed that esomeprazole 40mg is more efficacious than lansoprazole, another PPI (Scott, 2002).

Can Nexium Control be prescribed on NHS?

Nexium Control is the brand name of esomeprazole sold to public in supermarkets and pharmacies only. Nexium used by pharmacies in supply to patients on prescription is simply called Nexium. Nexium tablets 20mg and 40mg are available as branded esomeprazole product with the legal status of prescription only medication (pack size of 28 tablets).

In the management of dyspepsia/heartburn, NICE guide does not specify which PPI should be offered in the first place, however, in practice, esomeprazole (generic or Nexium brand) is considerably less commonly prescribed than other PPIs, mainly due to higher cost of both drugs. Supply of Nexium 20mg on NHS cost around £18 per box of 28 tablets, equivalent generic esomeprazole 20mg tablets costs around £2.50, whereas omeprazole 20mg capsules (most popular PPI) cost around £1. Some pharmacies may have a ‘special deals‘ with pharmaceutical suppliers, which allows them to supply Nexium tablets instead of cheaper, generic versions of esemeprazole. Overall Nexium can be prescribed on NHS prescription, however due to the cost of the drug ,this is not commonly done.

Nexium Control where to buy

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Nexium can be purchased from all supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and others. Most pharmacies stock this product. Nexium Control is also available widely on the internet, with Amazon stocking both tablets and capsules.


Dent, J. (2003), Review article: pharmacology of esomeprazole and comparisons with omeprazole. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 17: 5-9. Available at: Accessed on 20/11/2019

EMA (N.D.). Nexum control 20mg gastro-resistant tablets. Summary product characetereisitics. Available at: Accessed on 20/11/2019

Johnson, DA (2003). Review of esomeprazole in the treatment of acid disorders. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003 Feb;4(2):253-64. Available at: Accessed on 20/11/2019

Scott, L.J., Dunn, C.J., Mallarkey, G. et al. Drugs (2002) 62: 1503. Accessed on 20/11/2019

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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