How To Get Rid Of Heartburn
The best way to get rid of heartburn is to find an acid reflux relief product that works for you. There are also a few lifestyle changes you can make such as quitting smoking, reducing your consumption of spicy foods, and knowing/avoiding heartburn triggers. Never lie down directly after eating and try to chew your food as thoroughly as possible between bites. If you’re overweight, try to lose some weight to help lessen your symptoms. If your heartburn is still frequent or painful, talk to your doctor right away.
Antacids For Quick Relief
H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors work better than antacids, but if you need something for very quick relief, antacids are an option. Antacids dont do anything to prevent GERD, but they can be used on demand for symptom relief. They are cheap and available over the counter.
Common antacids contain and/or magnesium , and provide relief of heartburn within 5 minutes. However, they only work temporarily for 30 to 60 minutes tops.
Side effects of antacids are mild and include constipation, nausea, and diarrhea. Dont overuse them: Some brands contain calcium, and too much calcium can lead to kidney stones.
If your symptoms continue for more than 2 weeks with an antacid, you may need a stronger medication.
When Should You Take Them
People can use antacids to help relieve occasional heartburn or indigestion. If someone needs them every day, they should see their doctor, as they may have an underlying health condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease .
A person should always read the instructions before taking antacids, as different types of antacids contain different active ingredients.
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Who May Not Be Able To Take Antacids
Antacids are safe for most people to take, but they’re not suitable for everyone.
Speak to a pharmacist or a GP for advice first if you:
- are pregnant or breastfeeding most antacids are considered safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding, but always get advice first
- are looking for a medicine for a child under 12 years of age some antacids are not recommended for children
- have liver disease, kidney disease or heart failure some antacids may not be safe if you have one of these problems
- have an illness that means you need to control how much salt is in your diet, such as high blood pressure or cirrhosis some antacids contain high levels of sodium, which could make you unwell
- are taking other medicines antacids can interfere with other medicines and may need be avoided or taken at a different time
Page last reviewed: 13 November 2019 Next review due: 13 November 2022
What Types Of Acid Reflux Medicines Are Available
To treat acid reflux, a person has several over-the-counter and prescription options to choose from. Medications for acid reflux offer either fast acting or long-term relief to the pain. In some cases, a doctor may recommend using combinations of medication.
This article looks at the different types of medicine for acid reflux, how to take them, and when to see a doctor.
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Proton Pump Inhibitors When H2 Blockers Dont Help
If after a couple weeks of taking H2 blockers your acid reflux symptoms still arent letting up and/or are occuring 2 or more days per week, stop them and try a proton pump inhibitor once daily. PPIs work by blocking an enzyme found in cells in the stomach lining that produce stomach acid. This causes them to make less acid and relieve symptoms of heartburn and GERD.
What Can Trigger Heartburn
Heartburn can be triggered by many different things that are a part of your daily life. For many people, heartburn can be caused by certain eating and lifestyle habits. These habits can involve things like eating large portions of food, eating too close to bedtime or even having high stress levels.
Certain foods and drinks can also trigger heartburn for some people. Some foods and drinks that could trigger your heartburn can include:
- Caffeinated beverages.
- Carbonated beverages.
Your lifestyle habits can also play a part in why you might experience heartburn. These everyday factors often contribute to medical conditions that cause heartburn, like GERD or hiatal hernia. Some lifestyle habits that can trigger your heartburn include:
- Being overweight.
- Having a high stress level.
- Wearing tight clothes and belts.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Antacids
- Antacids may cause dose-dependent rebound hyperacidity and milk-alkali syndrome.
- Antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide may cause constipation, aluminum-intoxication, osteomalacia, and hypophosphatemia.
- Antacids that contain magnesium have a laxative effect that may cause diarrhea, and in patients with renal failure they may cause increased magnesium levels in the blood, because of the reduced ability of the kidneys to eliminate magnesium from the body in the urine.
Otc Vs Prescription Drugs
Many of the medications for GERD began as prescription-only drugs before being made available over the counter. This speaks to the high prevalence of indigestion and heartburn and the need for people to treat these conditions quickly and easily. However, the medications that are available over the counter are also usually still available with a prescription at a higher dose.
It’s important to involve a healthcare professional in decisions about taking drugs to treat symptoms of GERD. One reason is that undertreating GERD could lead to other long-term problems. However, that being said, many people will treat their symptoms with a medication that is available over the counter before seeking help from a healthcare provider.
People who have other diagnosed conditions and may be taking other medications should be especially vigilant about talking to a healthcare provider concerning treatments for GERD. Even commonly used OTC remedies like antacids can affect other medications and supplements.
One other reason for seeking a prescription might be the cost. In some cases, a prescription medication may be less expensive than the OTC version, especially when using prescription coverage through a health plan. It’s always a good idea to check on the cost of a drug in the store compared to what it might cost by prescription.
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Common Medications For Acid Reflux And Gerd
If diet and lifestyle choices dont improve your acid reflux and GERD symptoms, a doctor may recommend medication. Acid reflux and GERD medicine is available over-the-counter and by prescription.
These medications come in three main types: antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors or PPIs.
Many people who have mild or intermittent symptoms of reflux may be able to take over-the-counter treatments alone. Frankly, patients can often self-manage that with little to no clinical input, but many other patients may have more severe GERD symptoms or more complex GI disease, such as gastritis or erosive esophagitis or gastrointestinal ulcers which we dont see often, but they still can occur are times when a prescription treatment makes more sense, said Alexander.
If heartburn is mild and only happens occasionally, people can use weaker OTC medicines such as antacids.
For more serious acid reflux or GERD, medical providers may prescribe stronger medicines such as H2 blockers or PPIs. Weaker medicines like antacids dont treat GERD.
H2 blockers are generally used for more mild disease. For people that require more complete acid suppression, proton pump inhibitors are superior, Alexander said.
Each type has pros and cons and different side effects.
Common Medications for Acid Reflux
What Are The Benefits Of Heartburn Medications
Are there any benefits to be gained when you take the best medicine for heartburn? There are several advantages to taking heartburn medications especially when you experience a burning sensation on your chest or the taste of bile at the back of your throat even. Heartburn can be triggered because of acid reflux and can occur when you ate something that caused too much acid to form in your stomachor because of a pre-existing condition. With that being said, here are the benefits that you can reap when you take this medication.
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Follow The Dosing Instructions
Some antacids may look and even taste like candy, but, as Diane Lamarre points out, they must be treated as medicine. It is important to always follow the dosing instructions and pay special attention to the concentration of the product you are using. Remember that there are regular formulas and concentrated formulas .
When should you take an antacid?When taking an antacid, timing is everything. For digestion to occur, the body needs to produce gastric acid. This is why you should wait at least one hour after eating before taking it. Bedtime is another perfect time to take an antacid, since it will have the chance to provide substantive relief.
Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about antacids or over the counter medications.
Are There Any Over The Counter Medications For Heartburn
Esophageal motility testing, to measure movement and pressure in your esophagus. Many over-the-counter medications can help relieve heartburn. The options include: Antacids, which help neutralize stomach acid. Antacids may provide quick relief. But they cant heal an esophagus damaged by stomach acid.
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Check If You Can Take Antacids
Antacids are safe for most people to take, but they are not suitable for everyone. Some antacids are not recommended for children.
Talk to a pharmacist or your GP for advice first if you:
- are taking other medicines
- are looking for a medicine for a child under 12 years of age
- have liver disease, kidney disease or heart failure
- need to control how much salt is in your diet
- have high levels of calcium in your blood
- have low levels of phosphate in your blood
How To Use Famotidine Vial
This medication is injected into a vein as directed by your doctor. The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to treatment. In children, dosage may also be based on body weight.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
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When To See The Doctor
Let your doctor know how the OTC medicines work for you. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, the doctor may suggest a prescription medicine. If possible, try not to take PPIs long-term. These can increase your risk of certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis, kidney disease, and dementia.
Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms. They may be signs of a more serious problem.
- Bloody or black stools.
- Heartburn that has not improved after 2 weeks of treatment with OTC medicines.
- Trouble swallowing or pain when you swallow.
- Unplanned weight loss.
If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, and pain in your arms, you may be having a heart attack. Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.
Tif And Other Endoscopic Therapy
Transoral incisionless fundoplication is an option to address GERD. TIF can mean a shorter treatment time, less pain and faster recovery compared to laparoscopic surgery. The procedure involves using a special TIF device to create a passageway for a flexible, tube-like imaging instrument called an endoscope. The procedure allows the physician to use preloaded tweezers and fasteners to repair or recreate the valve that serves as a natural barrier to reflux.Currently, there are clinical trials testing the efficacy of endoscopic therapy for GERD. One form of therapy uses an endoscopic sewing machine to place sutures in the stomach and increase the anti-reflux barrier.
TIF Procedure for GERD | Frank’s Story
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Types Of Medications Used For Treating Gerd
- Antacids: This type of medication directly neutralizes gastric acid and provides rapid but temporary relief. Antacids are usually consumed in frequent doses as needed, and most are available over the counter.
- H2RAs: H2RAs reduce the amount of acid produced in the stomach by inhibiting the release of histamine, the principal stimulus for acid secretion in the stomach. Clinical trials evaluating histamine for the treatment of GERD showed only modest benefit over a placebo. Also, several studies have revealed drug tolerance to H2RAs as early as two weeks after beginning therapy. This means that patients experience a reduced reaction to a given dosage relatively quickly after starting to use it.
- PPIs: PPIs are the most effective medical therapy to treat GERD . PPIs work by blocking the mechanism that produces stomach acid. This lowers the acidity of the digestive fluids involved in reflux, and thus reduces reflux symptoms. PPIs are available in both prescription and over-the-counter strengths.
While effective at reducing the acidity of digestive fluids in the upper GI tract, research has indicated that PPIs do not address anatomic deficiencies which often are the root cause of abnormal reflux.
Histamine Type 2 Receptor Antagonists
H2 blockers/antagonists are those compounds that bind and block the histamine type 2 receptors in the parietal cells of the gut.
Antagonizing these cell receptors interferes and inhibits the acid production in the stomach, thereby, reducing the symptoms of heartburn.
The selectivity of H2 blockers is of utmost importance as they have no effect if they block a similar receptor called histamine Type1, which is a target of anti-histamines to block allergic reactions and which does not inhibit acid secretion .
There are majorly 4 types of H2 antagonistic compounds that can be taken for heartburn namely famotidine, nizatidine, ranitidine and cimetidine.
There are a number of prescription and non-prescription drugs available which contain either one of these or a combination of these chemicals.
H2 receptor blockers are usually slow in their action but once active, their effectiveness is very long lasting.
There are a number of capsules or tablets available in the market with prescription which has to be taken by mouth often before the first meal of the day.
In some cases they can also be taken before an evening meal in which case, it would be directed by the doctor.
If the symptoms dont seem to improve at all after a few weeks of consumption or any other unwanted symptoms are observed, the doctor should be contacted immediately .
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How Do Proton Pump Inhibitors Work
Proton pump inhibitors, which may also be called “PPIs,” are also reduce the amount of acid found in your stomach. However, instead of acting on histamine 2 receptors, these medications shut down the pumps responsible for the production and secretion of acid into the stomach. Unlike antacids and H2 blockers, PPIs are not fast-acting. In fact, they can take one to four days to feel the full effects of a PPI. Once they do take effect, PPIs are long lasting, providing relief from heartburn for 24 hours. PPIs are intended to be used only by those experiencing frequent heartburn . They have a strict dosing regimen and must be taken every day in order to be effective at treating frequent heartburn.
You should only take over-the-counter PPIs for 14 days at a time. After taking this medication for 14 days, you should wait four months before taking an over-the-counter PPI again7.
Side Effects And Precautions
There are different side effects and precautions for each drug which are indicated by the doctor. Possible side effects of H2 receptor antagonists include headache, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting.
Proton pump inhibitors can also have the same set of side effects including upset stomach and abdominal pain. PPIs may also increase the chances of getting an infection in intestines and for making the bones fragile.
These side effects, however, are very rare. Promotility agents may have major rare but major side effects and any appearance of unusual symptoms on their consumption should be reported immediately.
Precautions of heartburn drugs are indicated specifically by the doctor and should be strictly followed.
The doctor should be told about every past or present medical condition including pregnancy and breastfeeding before taking the prescription.
If a dose is missed, it should not be replaced by two doses at the same time or taking the tablet at an odd time .
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What Causes Heartburn
Heartburn occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This causes a painful, burning sensation that results from the stomach acid leaking up and into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter, a valve between the stomach and esophagus. If it does not tighten properly, stomach acid can flow back up, resulting in heartburn and acid reflux. There are many habits that can cause heartburn or make your symptoms worse. Some of the most common causes include smoking, lying down after eating, obesity, or eating spicy foods. Some medications may also trigger heartburn including simple pain medications like aspirin and ibuprofen. Certain sedatives and blood pressure medication can also make heartburn worse or cause it to occur.
Talk With Your Doctor
If you have GERD symptoms and arent sure what kind of medication to take, talk with your doctor. They can confirm whether you have GERD and develop a treatment plan that will work for you.
Frequent, severe symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem. And they could get worse over time if left untreated.
Be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have. These might include:
- What lifestyle changes could reduce my symptoms?
- Which kind of OTC medication would be best for me?
- Would a prescription GERD medication work better for me?
- Am I taking any medications that might interact with an OTC medication?
- How and when should I take my GERD medication?
Changes in your daily habits may help reduce GERD symptoms. Your doctor can suggest changes that might work for you, such as:
- losing weight
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