NEXIUM (Page 7 of 11)


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Esomeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor that suppresses gastric acid secretion by specific inhibition of the H + /K + -ATPase in the gastric parietal cell. The S- and R-isomers of omeprazole are protonated and converted in the acidic compartment of the parietal cell forming the active inhibitor, the achiral sulphenamide. By acting specifically on the proton pump, esomeprazole blocks the final step in acid production, thus reducing gastric acidity. This effect is dose-related up to a daily dose of 20 to 40 mg and leads to inhibition of gastric acid secretion.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Antisecretory Activity

The effect of NEXIUM on intragastric pH was determined in patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease in two separate studies. In the first study of 36 patients, NEXIUM 40 mg and 20 mg capsules were administered over 5 days. The results are shown in the Table 3:

Table 3: Effect on Intragastric pH on Day 5 (N=36)
Gastric pH was measured over a 24-hour period
p< 0.01 NEXIUM 40 mg vs. NEXIUM 20 mg



40 mg


20 mg

% Time Gastric pH >4 *(Hours)


(16.8 h)


(12.7 h)

Coefficient of variation



Median 24 Hour pH



Coefficient of variation



In a second study, the effect on intragastric pH of NEXIUM 40 mg administered once daily over a five day period was similar to the first study, (% time with pH > 4 was 68% or 16.3 hours).

Serum Gastrin Effects

The effect of NEXIUM on serum gastrin concentrations was evaluated in approximately 2,700 patients in clinical trials up to 8 weeks and in over 1,300 patients for up to 6 to 12 months. The mean fasting gastrin level increased in a dose-related manner. This increase reached a plateau within two to three months of therapy and returned to baseline levels within four weeks after discontinuation of therapy.

Increased gastrin causes enterochromaffin-like cell hyperplasia and increased serum Chromogranin A (CgA) levels. The increased CgA levels may cause false positive results in diagnostic investigations for neuroendocrine tumors. Healthcare providers should temporarily stop esomeprazole treatment at least 14 days before assessing CgA levels and consider repeating the test if initial CgA levels are high.

Enterochromaffin-like (ECL) Cell Effects

In 24-month carcinogenicity studies of omeprazole in rats, a dose-related significant occurrence of gastric ECL cell carcinoid tumors and ECL cell hyperplasia was observed in both male and female animals [see Nonclinical Toxicology (13.1)] . Carcinoid tumors have also been observed in rats subjected to fundectomy or long-term treatment with other proton pump inhibitors or high doses of H 2 -receptor antagonists.

Human gastric biopsy specimens have been obtained from more than 3,000 patients (both children and adults) treated with omeprazole in long-term clinical trials. The incidence of ECL cell hyperplasia in these studies increased with time; however, no case of ECL cell carcinoids, dysplasia, or neoplasia has been found in these patients.

In over 1,000 patients treated with NEXIUM (10, 20 or 40 mg/day) up to 6 to 12 months, the prevalence of ECL cell hyperplasia increased with time and dose. No patient developed ECL cell carcinoids, dysplasia, or neoplasia in the gastric mucosa.

Endocrine Effects

NEXIUM had no effect on thyroid function when given in oral doses of 20 or 40 mg for 4 weeks. Other effects of NEXIUM on the endocrine system were assessed using omeprazole studies. Omeprazole given in oral doses of 30 or 40 mg for 2 to 4 weeks had no effect on carbohydrate metabolism, circulating levels of parathyroid hormone, cortisol, estradiol, testosterone, prolactin, cholecystokinin, or secretin.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics


NEXIUM Delayed-Release Capsules and NEXIUM For Delayed-Release Oral Suspension contain a bioequivalent enteric-coated granule formulation of esomeprazole magnesium. Bioequivalency is based on a single dose (40 mg) study in 94 healthy male and female volunteers under fasting condition. After oral administration, peak plasma levels (C max ) occur at approximately 1.5 hours (T max ). The C max increases proportionally when the dose is increased, and there is a three-fold increase in the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) from 20 to 40 mg. At repeated once-daily dosing with 40 mg, the systemic bioavailability is approximately 90% compared to 64% after a single dose of 40 mg. The mean exposure (AUC) to esomeprazole increases from 4.32 µmol*hr/L on Day 1 to 11.2 µmol*hr/L on Day 5 after 40 mg once daily dosing.

The AUC after administration of a single 40 mg dose of NEXIUM is decreased by 43% to 53% after food intake compared to fasting conditions. NEXIUM should be taken at least one hour before meals.

The pharmacokinetic profile of NEXIUM was determined in 36 patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease following repeated once daily administration of 20 mg and 40 mg capsules of NEXIUM over a period of five days. The results are shown in the Table 4:

Table 4: Pharmacokinetic Parameters of NEXIUM on Day 5 Following Oral Dosing for 5 Days
Values represent the geometric mean, except the T max, which is the arithmetic mean; CV = Coefficient of variation

Parameter * (CV)


40 mg


20 mg

AUC (μmol·h/L)

12.6 (42%)

4.2 (59%)

C max (μmol/L)

4.7 (37%)

2.1 (45%)

T max (h)



t 1/2 (h)




Esomeprazole is 97% bound to plasma proteins. Plasma protein binding is constant over the concentration range of 2 to 20 μmol/L. The apparent volume of distribution at steady state in healthy volunteers is approximately 16 L.



Esomeprazole is extensively metabolized in the liver by the cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzyme system. The metabolites of esomeprazole lack antisecretory activity. The major part of esomeprazole’s metabolism is dependent upon the CYP2C19 isoenzyme, which forms the hydroxy and desmethyl metabolites. The remaining amount is dependent on CYP3A4 which forms the sulphone metabolite. CYP2C19 isoenzyme exhibits polymorphism in the metabolism of esomeprazole, since some 3% of Caucasians and 15 to 20% of Asians lack CYP2C19 and are termed Poor Metabolizers. At steady state, the ratio of AUC in Poor Metabolizers to AUC in the rest of the population (Extensive Metabolizers) is approximately 2.

Following administration of equimolar doses, the S- and R-isomers are metabolized differently by the liver, resulting in higher plasma levels of the S- than of the R-isomer.


The plasma elimination half-life of esomeprazole is approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Less than 1% of parent drug is excreted in the urine. Approximately 80% of an oral dose of esomeprazole is excreted as inactive metabolites in the urine, and the remainder is found as inactive metabolites in the feces.

Combination Therapy with Antimicrobials

Esomeprazole magnesium 40 mg once daily was given in combination with clarithromycin 500 mg twice daily and amoxicillin 1000 mg twice daily for 7 days to 17 healthy male and female subjects. The mean steady state AUC and C max of esomeprazole increased by 70% and 18%, respectively during triple combination therapy compared to treatment with esomeprazole alone. The observed increase in esomeprazole exposure during co-administration with clarithromycin and amoxicillin is not expected to produce significant safety concerns.

The pharmacokinetic parameters for clarithromycin and amoxicillin were similar during triple combination therapy and administration of each drug alone. However, the mean AUC and C max for 14-hydroxyclarithromycin increased by 19% and 22%, respectively, during triple combination therapy compared to treatment with clarithromycin alone. This increase in exposure to 14-hydroxyclarithromycin is not considered to be clinically significant.

Concomitant Use with Clopidogrel

Results from a crossover study in healthy subjects have shown a pharmacokinetic interaction between clopidogrel (300 mg loading dose/75 mg daily maintenance dose) and esomeprazole (40 mg p.o. once daily) when co-administered for 30 days. Exposure to the active metabolite of clopidogrel was reduced by 35% to 40% over this time period. Pharmacodynamic parameters were also measured and demonstrated that the change in inhibition of platelet aggregation was related to the change in the exposure to clopidogrel active metabolite.

Concomitant Use with Mycophenolate Mofetil

Administration of omeprazole 20 mg twice daily for 4 days and a single 1000 mg dose of MMF approximately one hour after the last dose of omeprazole to 12 healthy subjects in a cross-over study resulted in a 52% reduction in the C max and 23% reduction in the AUC of MPA.

Specific Populations

Age: Geriatric Population

The AUC and C max values were slightly higher (25% and 18%, respectively) in the elderly as compared to younger subjects at steady state. Dosage adjustment based on age is not necessary.

Age: Pediatric Population

1 to 11 Month of Age

The pharmacokinetic parameters following repeated dose administration of 1.0 mg/kg esomeprazole in 1 to 11 month old infants are summarized in Table 5.

Table 5: Summary of PK Parameters in 1 Month to < 1 Year Olds with GERD Following 7/8 Days of Once-Daily Oral Esomeprazole Treatment
Geometric mean

1 month to < 1 year


1.0 mg/kg

AUC (μmol·h/L) (n=7) *


C ss,,max (μmol/L) (n=15) *


t ½ (hours) (n=8) *


t max (hours) (n=15)


Subsequent pharmacokinetic simulation analyses showed that a dosage regimen of 2.5 mg once-daily for pediatric patients with body weight 3 to 5 kg, 5.0 mg once-daily for >5 to 7.5 kg and 10 mg once-daily for >7.5 to 12 kg would achieve comparable steady-state plasma exposures (AUC) to that observed after 10 mg in 1 to 11 year olds, and 20 mg in 12 to 18 year-olds as well as adults.

1 to 11 Years of Age

The pharmacokinetics of esomeprazole were studied in pediatric patients with GERD aged 1 to 11 years. Following once daily dosing for 5 days, the total exposure (AUC) for the 10 mg dose in patients aged 6 to 11 years was similar to that seen with the 20 mg dose in adults and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. The total exposure for the 10 mg dose in patients aged 1 to 5 years was approximately 30% higher than the 10 mg dose in patients aged 6 to 11 years. The total exposure for the 20 mg dose in patients aged 6 to 11 years was higher than that observed with the 20 mg dose in 12 to 17 year-olds and adults, but lower than that observed with the 40 mg dose in 12 to 17 year-olds and adults. See Table 6.

Table 6: Summary of PK Parameters in 1 to 11 Year Olds with GERD following 5 Days of Once-Daily Oral Esomeprazole Treatment
Geometric mean
Arithmetic mean

1 to 5 Year Olds

6 to 11 Year Olds


10 mg (N=8)

10 mg (N=7)

20 mg (N=6)

AUC (μmol·h/L) *




C max (μmol/L) *




t max (h)




t ½λz (h) *




Cl/F (L/h) *




12 to 17 Years of Age

The pharmacokinetics of NEXIUM were studied in 28 adolescent patients with GERD aged 12 to 17 years inclusive, in a single center study. Patients were randomized to receive NEXIUM 20 mg or 40 mg once daily for 8 days. Mean C max and AUC values of esomeprazole were not affected by body weight or age; and more than dose-proportional increases in mean C max and AUC values were observed between the two dose groups in the study. Overall, NEXIUM pharmacokinetics in adolescent patients aged 12 to 17 years were similar to those observed in adult patients with symptomatic GERD. See Table 7.

Table 7: Comparison of PK Parameters in 12 to 17 Year Olds with GERD and Adults with Symptomatic GERD Following the Repeated Daily Oral Dose Administration of Esomeprazole *
Duration of treatment for 12 to 17 year olds and adults were 8 days and 5 days, respectively. Data were obtained from two independent studies.

12 to 17 Year Olds (N=28)

Adults (N=36)

20 mg

40 mg

20 mg

40 mg

AUC (μmol·h/L)





C max (μmol/L)





t max (h)





t ½λz (h)





Data presented are geometric means for AUC, C max and t ½λz , and median value for t max .


The AUC and C max values were slightly higher (13%) in females than in males at steady state. Dosage adjustment based on gender is not necessary.

Hepatic Insufficiency

The steady state pharmacokinetics of esomeprazole obtained after administration of 40 mg once daily to 4 patients each with mild (Child‑Pugh Class A), moderate (Child‑Pugh Class B), and severe (Child‑Pugh Class C) liver insufficiency were compared to those obtained in 36 male and female GERD patients with normal liver function. In patients with mild and moderate hepatic insufficiency, the AUCs were within the range that could be expected in patients with normal liver function. In patients with severe hepatic insufficiency the AUCs were 2 to 3 times higher than in the patients with normal liver function. No dosage adjustment is recommended for patients with mild to moderate hepatic insufficiency (Child‑Pugh Classes A and B). However, in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency (Child‑Pugh Class C) a dose of 20 mg once daily should not be exceeded [see Dosage and Administration (2)] .

Renal Insufficiency

The pharmacokinetics of NEXIUM in patients with renal impairment are not expected to be altered relative to healthy volunteers as less than 1% of esomeprazole is excreted unchanged in urine.

Other pharmacokinetic observations

Co-administration of oral contraceptives, diazepam, phenytoin, or quinidine did not seem to change the pharmacokinetic profile of esomeprazole.

Studies evaluating concomitant administration of esomeprazole and either naproxen (non-selective NSAID) or rofecoxib (COX-2 selective NSAID) did not identify any clinically relevant changes in the pharmacokinetic profiles of esomeprazole or these NSAIDs.

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