Nexium for Acid Reflux in Kids

Mother comforting her crying toddler outside
Could your crying baby have acid reflux?. kali9 / Getty Images

Nexium, the "little purple pill," has now been approved to treat children over age 1 year of age with acid reflux, which is also known as heartburn or more formally as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What Nexium Is Used For

Nexium is approved as a once-a-day, short-term treatment (4 to 8 weeks) for GERD. It was previously approved for adults and then older children from the ages of 12 to 17 years old, but can now be given to younger kids too.

In fact, Nexium is now approved for infants as young as one-month-old with "with erosive esophagitis due to acid-mediated GERD."

Nexium is a proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and unlike some other acid reflux medications, it helps treat GERD by decreasing the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach.

Nexium Facts

Nexium is taken just once a day. Other facts about Nexium include that:

  • Nexium is also known as esomeprazole magnesium.
  • Infants with acid reflux are typically prescribed either 2.5mg, 5mg (infants who weigh over 5 to 7.5kg), or 10mg of Nexium depending on their weight.
  • The dose of Nexium is usually 10mg (weight less than 20kg) to 20mg (weight over 20kg) for kids 1 to 11 years old and 20mg to 40mg for kids over age 12.
  • Nexium is available as 2.5mg, 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 40mg delayed-release oral suspension
  • Nexium is also available as 20mg and 40mg delayed-release capsules

The oral suspension form of Nexium are actually packets that must be mixed with a teaspoon (for 2.5 and 5mg dosages) or tablespoon (for 10mg to 40mg dosages) of water, left for 2 to 3 minutes to thicken, and then stirred up and drank within 30 minutes.

Capsules can be swallowed whole or opened and sprinkled on applesauce.

Nexium Warnings and Side Effects

The most common side effects for children taking Nexium are usually headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, gas, constipation, dry mouth, and sleepiness.

What You Need To Know About Nexium

Other things to know about Nexium include that:

  • Nexium, like Prevacid and Prilosec, other commonly used acid reflux medications, is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI).
  • Many experts think that all PPIs work equally well, but having the new dosage forms of Nexium available, including the oral suspension, may be helpful for infants with acid reflux.
  • Nexium is not approved for use in children under age one month.

Your pediatrician may have samples of Nexium for your child to try. A Nexium savings card might also be helpful.


Choosing one PPI treatment over another. Dachs R - Am Fam Physician - 1-NOV-2007; 76(9): 1273-4

FDA News. FDA Approves Nexium for Use in Children Ages 1-11 Years. February 28, 2008.

Prescribing Information for NEXIUM. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Wilmington, DE.