Gerd Medications: Over The Counter And Prescription
Therapy though medicines may be the most appropriate next step for the treatment of GERD, if diet and lifestyle changes alone do not resolve symptoms. For many patients, treatment with medicines will reduce heartburn and reflux symptoms. Patients with more severe symptoms may only experience partial symptom control through medicines.
Acid suppression is the main function of GERD medical therapy. Three types of medicines are commonly used to treat GERD: antacids, h2-receptors and proton pump inhibitors . Some drugs are available as over the counter medications and others are available by prescription only. PPIs are the most commonly used drug to treat GERD symptoms and to heal esophagitis.
Heartburn Treatment And Acid Reflux Relief
Most of the time, you can treat mild to moderate heartburn by using over-the-counter treatments. These products can help to reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, thereby providing acid reflux relief. These treatments can also help to soothe stomach upset and indigestion. If your heartburn becomes more frequent or you’re noticing that it’s more painful, you may have acid reflux, or a chronic condition called GERD. If your symptoms persist or become more frequent, it’s best to talk to your doctor about possible treatment options.
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Many heartburn sufferers rely on antacids and alginates, however these treatments do not deliver the sustained relief that frequent sufferers require.
Nexium Control is a proton pump inhibitor containing 20mg esomeprazole. It works by reducing the production of acid in the stomach, providing 24-hour protection from heartburn.
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Otc Drugs For Heartburn Treatment
Over the counter drugs are the medicines that can be taken without the prescription of the doctor, and hence are available freely at pharmacies and medical stores.
They are mostly available for a number of diseases, pain, itching, allergies, and other disorders and are usually taken to cure any problem in its preliminary stage.
OTC drugs have been declared safe enough to be sold over the counter but still, are considered to have side effects and related risks.
Some interact with other medications, foods, drinks being taken at the same time, some can cause allergies and some might be harmful to the people with a certain medical condition.
Therefore it is important to be vigilant and aware of any OTC medicine to be taken to avoid and discomfort .
Which Otc Works Best For Heartburn
The severity of your GERD symptoms will help to indicate which OTC treatment is best for you.
Antacids are typically the first-choice treatment for relieving mild heartburn. By neutralizing the acid in your stomach, these drugs can provide relief of the immediate effects of heartburn.
H2 blockers and PPIs reduce the amount of stomach acid your body produces, so theyre more helpful if youre experiencing heartburn frequently.
These drugs take longer to start working but can prevent heartburn for
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When Is It Time To Talk To Your Doctor
If you experience heartburn or regurgitation more than once a week, its time to talk with your doctor, Dr. Dumot says.
People should be evaluated if they have chronic acid reflux to make sure their medical treatments are adequate, safe and correct and to determine if they have had damage to the esophagus, Dr. Dumot says.
If medications dont provide relief, further treatment options might include procedures intended to repair or replace the valve that connects the stomach and esophagus, which is often the culprit for acid reflux.
- LINX® Reflux Management System
Silicol Gel For Heartburn And Indigestion
Silicol gel contains silicic acid which, despite its name is a bland, non-acidic, mineral substance containing silicon and oxygen in a colloidal, hydrated form. Just a small amount of this dispersible gel creates a protective lining in the stomach and intestine. The gel acts as a magnet physically binding with substances which cause inflammation, and renders them harmless to pass through the digestive tract. It also provides a physical barrier to soothe heartburn and indigestion.
Enterosgel For Heartburn And Indigestion
If you experience indigestion, heartburn, bloating or flatulence after eating a particular type of food such as wheat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, tomatoes, potatoes or peppers, for example, some naturopaths believe this could be due to a food intolerance that triggers digestive symptoms. You may find that taking a tablespoon of the toxin-binding gel, Enterosgel, before or after eating the food may help.
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
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Side Effects Of Antacids
Antacids do not usually have many side effects if they’re only taken occasionally and at the recommended dose.
But sometimes they can cause:
- feeling sick or vomiting
These should pass once you stop taking the medicine.
Speak to a pharmacist or a GP if side effects do not improve or are troublesome. You may need to switch to another medicine.
Why Heartburn Medication
We, by no means, were the first to discover a link between heartburn medications and potential COVID treatments, study author Cameron Mura, PhD, a senior scientist in the School of Data Science and department of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia, tells Verywell.
A 2020 study showed that famotidine was associated with improved outcomes for non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. However, another study that was published around the same time found the opposite, concluding that famotidine was associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
We were intrigued that various reportsall clinical, patient-basedthat had amassed in the literature over the past year started to paint a somewhat confusing picture, Mura says. Some reports found a beneficial association between famotidine and COVID, while others were less positive. This riddle, along with some initial statistical data wed accumulated on a positive impact of famotidine in COVID, spurred us to look more closely at heartburn medications.
The researchers used data from the COVID-19 Research Network, which allowed them to review the electronic health records of COVID patients from 30 countries, including a diverse pool of participants.
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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
When To See A Doctor
Treating heartburn involves more than just popping a pill or munching on a fistful of antacids. These medications work in tandem with lifestyle changes such as cutting out caffeine consuming smaller, more frequent meals quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol, a known heartburn trigger. Other tips that may help extinguish heartburn include not eating after 7 p.m. and propping your head up while you sleep. “You can’t expect a pill to work if you are drinking eight cups of coffee and smoking two packs a day,” Dr. Chutkan says.
Caffeine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, a circular muscle that creates a valve between the esophagus and the stomach. Think of the muscle as a door. “When the door is shut, no acid comes back up. But when the door opens, the acid backs up from stomach to food pipe,” Dr. Cappell says. “Caffeine, smoking, and alcohol all tend to make reflux more severe, and they may act by opening this door.”
“If you have classic acid reflux or heartburn such as a pain in chest with frequent burping or nausea, it’s OK to try over-the-counter remediesespecially if it occurs after a large, fatty meal or late at night,” Dr. Chutkan says. Steer clear of the over-the-counter aisle and head straight to your doctor if you have any of these red flags: pain or difficulty swallowing, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, or persistent abdominal pain, she says.
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What Other Information Should I Know
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain laboratory tests before and during your treatment, especially if you have severe diarrhea.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking omeprazole.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. If you are taking prescription omeprazole, ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Check For Other Diseases
Self-medicating with over-the-counter heartburn drugs can mask underlying health problems. Frequent burning or pain in the upper abdomen or chest can signal an ulcer or even esophageal cancer. Some people mistake pain from gallstones or heart disease for heartburn. So before starting any heartburn drug, see a doctor to rule out other health issues.
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Mix Baking Soda With Water
You might have a heartburn remedy at hand in your kitchen without even knowing it. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid.
To do this, dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink it slowly. In fact, you should drink everything slowly when you have heartburn.
help relieve nausea, so some believe it may be worth trying for heartburn, too.
Consider adding grated or diced ginger root to your favorite stir-fry recipes, soups, and other foods. To make ginger tea, steep raw ginger root, dried ginger root, or ginger tea bags in boiling water.
Its probably best to avoid ginger ale, though. Carbonated beverages are a common heartburn trigger, and most brands of ginger ale are made with artificial flavoring rather than the real thing.
Types Of Prescription Drugs Used For Heartburn Treatment
There are a number of drugs prescribed by the doctors to treat heartburn. The chemical composition for them is generally common in most of them, what differs is their label which is different according to the brand.
Most common prescription drugs fall into two types namely histamine type 2 receptor blockers/antagonists, proton pump inhibitors and pro-motility agents.
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Otc Medicines For Heartburn
If your heartburn is infrequent or moderate, over-the-counter medicines, which include antacids such as Tums and Alka-Seltzer, H2 blockers such as Zantac and Pepcid, or proton pump inhibitors such as Prevacid and Nexium, are effective, says gastroenterologist John Dumot, DO, Director of the Digestive Health Institute at University Hospitals.
Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach, while H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors work by suppressing stomach acid production.
Over-the-counter medicines can work quickly and are safe for intermittent problems, along with lifestyle changes such as eating smaller meals, avoiding late-night eating or lying down after eating, Dr. Dumot says.
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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Study Leaves More Questions Than Answers
Beyond the elevated infection risk, this study didnt find a connection between PPIs and several other safety issues it examined that have been identified by earlier research. PPIs didnt appear to cause fractures, kidney disease, dementia, cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , hospitalizations, or premature death.
It is very reassuring that our trial was negative and suggests the risks of PPIs have at the very least been overstated, Dr. Moayyedi says.
Even though this study was the gold standard for drug safety research randomly assigning some patients to take a medicine and others to take a placebo the goal of the study was to test PPI safety only in people with damaged arteries who were prescribed aspirin or the blood-thinner Xarelto . Its possible results would be different in other groups of people.
Some side effects might also surface in a larger, longer study that didnt appear in this trial. We still cant exclude a very small risk of harms, Moayyedi says.
For now, safety concerns shouldnt deter doctors from prescribing PPIs to patients who need them, says Vandana Nehra, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Thats because most of the problems identified so far have been found in observational studies that cant prove PPIs directly caused specific side effects, and because the association usually wasnt a strong one, Dr. Nehra says.
Identifying Common Symptoms And Causes Of Heartburn
It is important to be able to identify the common symptoms of heartburn to understand what type of action you need to take for treatment. The most common symptoms of heartburn, besides the burning sensation in the center of your chest, can be symptoms like pain in your chest when you lay down or a burning sensation in your throat.3 Other symptoms of heartburn may include difficulty swallowing and a hot, sour, or acidic taste in the back of your throat.4
You may find yourself experiencing these symptoms after consuming certain foods and drinks that can trigger heartburn. For example, citrus fruits, high-fat foods, tomato-based products, and alcohol have been known to cause heartburn.5 Other types of causes to consider can be more lifestyle-based, specifically for those who are active smokers, people who experience high levels of stress, and those who are overweight.6
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Heartburn Medicine Factors To Consider
When shopping for a new heartburn medicine, there are a number of important factors to consider. Some consumers might only need short-term relief from occasionally eating trigger foods. Others might need a longer-term treatment for chronic acid reflux, GERD, or a sensitive stomach. It isnt unusual to experiment with different types of heartburn medicines in order to find the one that brings the most reliable relief. Here are some important factors to consider while looking:
Relief onset time: While traditional antacid brands offer relief in seconds or minutes, H2RAs and PPIs generally take hours or even days. This delay isnt necessarily a bad thing since these medicines provide longer-term relief. When comparing H2RAs and PPIs, keep in mind that H2RAs usually have a faster onset time, but the effects of PPIs last longer. If faster relief of an occasional bout of heartburn is the goal, try an H2RA first. For more frequent acid reflux, a PPI might be more appropriate.
Mechanism: Different types of heartburn medicine use different mechanisms to address the same basic problem. Antacids chemically neutralize stomach acids but dont affect acid production. H2RAs enter the bloodstream and block acid production. PPIs actually shut down acid production. Consumers should consider the severity and frequency of their heartburn symptoms and shop accordingly.
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.
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