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Pharmacy and Medications

Is Prilosec as Effective as Nexium?



Will Prilosec work just as well as Nexium? I find Nexium very expensive.


Both Prilosec (omeprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole) belong to the same class of drugs, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). These two drugs are chemically very similar and have the same mechanism of action in your body.

However, different people react differently to medications. Some people may find that Prilosec works fine for them, while others may find that it does not and prefer to take Nexium. In addition, some people may need to take Prilosec twice a day, whereas Nexium is usually only taken once daily.

Prilosec is available by prescription in a generically equivalent form. It is also available over-the-counter as Prilosec-OTC. For these reasons it is often less expensive to take Prilosec than Nexium, because there is currently no generic equivalent to Nexium. However, some prescription insurance plans do not cover Prilosec, generic omeprazole, or Prilosec-OTC due to its availability over-the-counter. Thus, for some people, Prilosec may be more expensive than Nexium.

I would recommend talking with your insurance provider to determine which drugs they will cover and at what cost. With that in mind, if you have never taken Prilosec, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying it in place of Nexium. It is always a good idea to discuss the use of prescription medicines with your doctor or pharmacist. Be sure to tell your doctor about all prescription medications you are taking.

Response composed by Jennifer Hendricks, a pharmacy student from the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy

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Response by:

Robert James Goetz, PharmD, DABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati