Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive condition affecting the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Reflux, by definition, means to ‘flow back’. With GERD the stomach’s acids wash back up into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. 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. Many people have had the occasional symptoms of heartburn, which has nothing to do with your heart. It is simply a symptom of acid reflux. When acid reflux occurs on a regular basis, the patient more than likely has gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Bad breath
- Breathing problems
- Pain when swallowing
- Burning sensation in the chest often after eating, which gets worse when laying down or sitting.
How is GERD treated?
GERD can often be treated by simple lifestyle changes, such as avoiding foods that create symptoms, and, also with medication.
Dexilant® is a common medication used for the treatment of GERD. The active ingredient in Dexilant® is dexlansoprazole. It is also prescribed to treat heartburn associated with GERD and , to maintain healing of erosive esophagitis. Dexilant® is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) that works by reducing acid produced in the stomach. It may provide up to 24 hours of relief from heartburn due to GERD. It may also provide relief from other stomach and esophagus symptoms such as persistent cough or trouble swallowing.
Dexilant® contains dexlansoprazole in a mixture of two types of enteric-coated granules. Thus, it releases the medication in two ways –it delivers the first release of medication within the first hour of taking the capsule, and then it releases a second round of medication into your system 4 to 5 hours later. By taking Dexilant®, acid damage 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®?
Delixant® is taken 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.
Talk to your doctor if you take antacids or other medications.
What are the side effects of Dexilant®?
The most common side effects are stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, gas, and vomiting.
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. Read more about Vitamin B-12 deficiency symptoms and treatment.
Always speak to your doctor and pharmacist about all the side effects to be aware of.
If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).