What Is Dexilant (Dexlansoprazole)?

Woman having heartburn
Woman having heartburn. Stockbyte/Getty Images

Dexilant (dexlansoprazol) is a medication used to treat acid reflux (also called GERD) or heartburn. Dexilant may also be used to heal erosive esophagitis and to maintain the healing of erosive esophagitis. Dexilant is part of a class of medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPI's). Other medications in this class include omeprazole, pantoprazole and many others.

How Does Dexilant Work?

Dexilant inhibits the pumps (also called proton pumps) in your stomach that produce stomach acid thus overall reducing the amount of acid that can cause heartburn or reflux. According to studies, Dexilant is also capable of healing previously damaged portions of the esophagus.

Dexilant is different than most medications of its kind because, like an extended release type of medication, one pill releases two separate doses of the medication. However, the manufacturer states that no conclusions about whether this makes the drug more effective than other similar drugs can be drawn from their studies.

Dosage and Administration of Dexilant

Depending on whether or not you have damage to the esophagus caused by acid reflux (esophageal erosion). Dexilant is taken as a 30 or 60 milligram pill once a day. Your dose may need to be reduced if you have a history of liver problems. Dexilant may be taken with or without food. You should follow the instructions given by your physician and/or pharmacist.

Capsules should never be cut in half, chewed, or crushed as this interferes with the extended release action of the medication. However, for individuals who cannot swallow pills the capsules may be opened up and the intact granules can be given in applesauce or in water (the granules should not be chewed up but swallowed). Two 30mg capsules cannot be substituted for one 60mg capsule.

The Dexilant SoluTab should be dissolved beneath the tongue 30 minutes prior to a meal. The microgranules should be swallowed without water and not chewed.

If you miss a dose you should take it as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose to be taken in which case the missed dose should be skipped. You should not take two doses at once.

Side Effects of Dexilant

According to the official website for Dexilant, in a study involving over 4,500 people, side effects occurred in a very low percentage of those who took Dexilant. The most common side effects were (in order of most common to least common): diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, common cold, vomiting and gas.

Long term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI's) such as Dexilant have been associated with the following health conditions: Acute interstitial nephritis, vitamin B-12 deficiency, clostridium difficile associated diarrhea, bone fractures, and magnesium deficiency.

While these conditions are rare individuals who are taking PPI's for an extended period of time (usually years) should familiarize themselves with the symptoms and be aware that using PPI's may predispose them to these health conditions. You should stop taking Dexilant and notify your doctor immediately if you suddenly have worrisome symptoms that could coincide with any of the above listed conditions.

Severe allergic reactions including anaphylaxis have occurred in individuals while taking Dexilant. If you have symptoms of anaphylaxis including swelling of the face, lips, mouth or tongue, difficulty breathing, speaking or swallowing, or wheezing you should go to the emergency room or call 911. You may want to avoid Dexilant if you have had an allergic reaction to a similar medication such as lansoprazole.

Interactions With Other Medications

Certain medications require stomach acid to absorb properly. Because Dexilant interferes with the creation of stomach acid, these medications may not be absorbed if taken with Dexilant. Examples include atazanavir, ampicillin, iron salts, and ketoconazole. Dexilant may also interefere with the medication methotrexate.

Before Using Dexilant

Before you take Dexilant, your doctor should have a complete history of your health (current and past illnesses), as well as a list of all medications that you take. Your doctor also needs to know if you are currently pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Sufficient studies on the risks to a developing fetus do not currently exist but similar medications (lansoprazole) have caused birth defects.

It is also advisable to ask your pharmacist to review your current medications to make sure that none of them will interact negatively with Dexilant.

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