Find The Right Drugs At The Lowest Possible Price
Remember Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is? Well, heartburn drugs have changed a lot since that TV jingle became popular. Americans spent $6 billion on the acid-reflux drug Nexium in 2012, making it the top-selling branded prescription medication. But other drugs work just as well and cost less, according to a Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs analysis. Heres how to treat heartburn right.
How Well Does Surgery Work For Gerd
Surgery relieves symptoms for most people, but not for everyone. Laparoscopic surgery improves GERD symptoms in 8 out of 10 people. And surgery heals the damage done by GERD to the esophagus in about 9 out of 10 people.footnote 1
All major surgery has risks, including a risk of breathing problems caused by the anesthesia. There also is a risk of bleeding, infection, and pain.
Surgery for GERD can involve other problems:
- Surgery might not make symptoms go away completely.
- Some people still need to take medicine for GERD symptoms after surgery.
- Some people have increased flatulence and bloating after surgery.
- It is also possible for the stomach wrap to slide down around the stomach instead of staying around the esophagus. If this rare problem happens, you may need surgery to fix it.
- The stomach wrap could loosen, causing symptoms to return. You might need a second surgery to fix it.
Your doctor might recommend surgery if:
- Medicine doesn’t completely relieve your symptoms.
- Medicine works to stop your symptoms but for other reasons you can’t or don’t want to take the medicine.
- You have other symptoms, including asthma or hoarseness, that don’t get much better with medicines.
What Are The Side Effects Of Gerd Medicines
The medicines for GERD are generally safe, but each has different side effects.
- Antacids can contain aluminum, magnesium, or aspirin. Those that contain aluminum may cause constipation. Those that contain magnesium may cause diarrhea. You should not use antacids that contain either aluminum or magnesium if you have serious kidney problems. Also, if you are on a low-salt diet or are pregnant, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you choose an antacid. Some are high in salt. And some antacids have aspirin in them. Read the label to make sure that you are not taking more than the recommended dose. Too much aspirin can be harmful.
- H2 blockers. They sometimes cause headaches, dizziness, diarrhea or constipation, or nausea and vomiting.
- Proton pump inhibitors. Headaches and diarrhea are the most common side effects. Using PPIs for a long time can increase your risk for infections or broken bones.
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Taking Heartburn Medicine 3+ Times A Week May Cause Harm
Antacids like Tums and Rolaids contain calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide to help neutralize the acid in your stomach. They can provide fast, short-term relief and do not have lasting harmful side effects if taken as directed. Follow dosage recommendations though because high levels of calcium carbonate in the body can cause constipation, nausea, mood changes or even heart rate changes. But acid neutralizers are considered safe when taken properly and are often used for calcium supplementation as well as heartburn relief.
H-2 Blockers and Proton Pump Inhibitors
H-2 blockers like Zantac, Tagamet and Pepcid reduce the production of stomach acid. They are effective in treating peptic ulcers and reflux in people who have heartburn a few times per month but are not intended for everyday use. Some research suggests that overuse of H-2 blockers can cause headaches, constipation and nausea, but their long-term use has not been extensively studied.
Proton-pump inhibitors like Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium are stronger than H-2 blockers and work by blocking acid-producing cells in the lining of the stomach. They provide lasting relief from symptoms of GERD and are available without a prescription.
Key Points To Remember
- GERD symptoms may not get better on their own. It’s important to treat GERD, because it can lead to more serious problems, such as inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus.
- Most people can control symptoms of GERD with over-the-counter medicines and lifestyle changes.
- Stronger prescription medicines often work when over-the-counter medicines don’t.
- You may decide to have surgery if:
- Medicine doesn’t completely relieve your symptoms.
- Medicine works to stop your symptoms but for other reasons you can’t or don’t want to take the medicine.
- You have other symptoms, including asthma or hoarseness, that do not get much better with medicines.
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Buying Guide For Best Heartburn Medicines
Believe it or not, sometimes we do eat the whole thing. Occasional food indiscretions, especially with spicy or acidic dishes, can lead to a painful but temporary discomfort known as heartburn or acid reflux. For many years, the strongest cures for these ailments were only available by prescription, and often expensive. Fortunately, the FDA has approved a number of advanced heartburn-relief medicines for over-the-counter sales, including some of the best-known brands on the market. Now heartburn relief is available at your nearby drugstore, no prescription required.
If youre looking for a powerful pill-size ally in the fight against heartburn and acid reflux, we at BestReviews have created this shopping guide to walk you through the sometimes challenging process of finding exactly the right medication to meet your particular needs.
Heres what you need to know the next time your favourite pizza or spicy taco decides not to play fair.
Antacids For Neutralizing Stomach Acid
When it comes to heartburn, medicines such as antacids are available over the counter and can be quite effective. These medicines work by simply neutralizing stomach acid. There can be a bit of a double-edged sword in this case though.
If youre suffering from regular heartburn and you rely on antacids to relieve the pain, youre not dealing with the underlying problem and damage may still be occurring to your esophagus .
To avoid developing more serious GERD-related problems, you should seek medical help to get treatment for the actual causes of the problem.
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How Should I Take A Proton Pump Inhibitor
PPIs include , , , and . They are all now available with a prescription. You can also find them over the counter, with the exception of pantoprazole.
PPIs should be taken on an empty stomach about 30 minutes to 1 hour before you eat breakfast, once a day for 14 days unless otherwise directed by your doctor. It can take 1 to 4 days for full effect but some people get complete symptom relief within 24 hours.
If you need to take a PPI for more than 14 days, your doctor may have you continue taking it for 4 to 8 weeks. Youll want to let your doctor know if your reflux continues or worsens.
How Do Antacids Work To Treat Heartburn
Antacids reduce the amount of stomach acid, relieving your heartburn. These medications can also be used to soothe stomach upset, indigestion and other pains in your stomach. Some antacids contain simethicone, which reduces gas. Antacids that you can get without a prescription include:
Make sure you always follow the instructions on the package or talk to your doctor about the right way to use an antacid. If you use tablets, chew them well before swallowing for faster relief.
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Mineral Antacids For Heartburn And Indigestion
Mineral antacids contain substances such as calcium carbonate, aluminium hydroxide or magnesium trisilicate which react chemically with stomach contents to neutralise excess acid.
Antacids that contain magnesium salts may have a laxative action while those containing aluminium salts are more constipating. If these side effects are troublesome, then select an antacid that contains both magnesium and aluminium to reduce these intestinal side-effects.
My go-to antacid, to keep handy in the home and office, is Remegel. Remegels are chewy rather than chalky, and each chew contains 800mg calcium carbonate as an invaluable source of calcium.
Antacids are available as liquid suspensions or chewable tablets of which some are chalky, while others are more like a chewy sweet. These are ideal for keeping in your bag or a drawer to treat mild, occasional heartburn. For more troublesome heartburn, a liquid preparation are generally more effective than tablet preparations.
So Which Works Best For Heartburn
All of these over-the-counter medicines, to a varying degree, can relieve the symptoms of heartburn. If you have more severe heartburn symptoms that these medications don’t relieve, or if you’ve been using these medicines for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor. You may need a stronger prescription medicine and tests to see what’s causing your symptoms.
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Ways To Beat Heartburn
Acid reflux is a miserable condition that affects more than 60 million Americans each month. While some have periodic episodes, others have a chronic problem that causes an interruption to their life. The medical community calls this condition GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. These people rely heavily on drugstore antacids to relieve the burn.
But what if you could alleviate your heartburn naturally? Today, we examine this sometimes underutilized treatment option.
Reflux is a common disorder in the ring of muscles that link the esophagus to the stomach. The ring is called the esophageal sphincter. The sphincter opens to allow the food you ingest to pass to your belly. In some instances, the lower sphincter malfunctions, and it doesnt close properly, which allows the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus.
Though the technical term is GERD, its often called heartburn. The intense burning sensation that this condition causes in the chest and throat is miserable. Many describe it as a fireball shooting from their stomach to their mouth.
The burning sensation that they feel is stomach acid coming into the esophagus and throat, causing discomfort. If you have chronic heartburn and dont take care of it, you can develop a condition called Barretts esophagus.
Few Lifestyle Changes To Treat Acidity
All the above foods will neutralize your stomach acids and act as the best natural antacids. However, it is also necessary to make few other lifestyle changes to stay away from acidity. To say a final goodbye to acid reflux, consider making the following changes and witness the difference.
- Always prefer small portions of food at regular intervals
- Chew your food well before swallowing
- Drink lots of water throughout the day
- Make time to exercise at least half an hour daily
- Spend some time in the morning sun
- Eliminate smoking from your life
- stay away from alcohol and carbonated drinks
- Avoid tight clothes
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Best Natural Antacid Foods & Remedies
Do you know acidity is a fairly recent disease? It is the most common condition we face due to the changing lifestyle. The older generation jokes about acidity as a result of technology, and rightly so.
To affirm their assumptions, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study on 30,000 people for 15 years, and the results are shocking. Here are a few of their findings.
- The last 10 years saw a drastic increase in acid refluxes.
- Almost 60% of the people complained of acidity.
- Out of these, at least 24% registered severe acid refluxes
- Around 52% confirmed experiencing acid refluxes once every week
- The most shocking result was that people under 45 years were experiencing recurrent acidity instances
Gerd Treatment: Lifestyle And Dietary Changes
Dietary and lifestyle changes are the first step in treating GERD. Certain foods make the reflux worse. Suggestions to help alleviate symptoms include:
- Lose weight if you are overweight of all of the lifestyle changes you can make, this one is the most effective.
- Avoid foods that increase the level of acid in your stomach, including caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid foods that decrease the pressure in the lower esophagus, such as fatty foods, alcohol and peppermint.
- Avoid foods that affect peristalsis , such as coffee, alcohol and acidic liquids.
- Avoid foods that slow gastric emptying, including fatty foods.
- Avoid large meals.
- Do not lie down immediately after a meal.
- Elevate the level of your head when you lie down.
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If You Go Prescription
Both histamine blockers and PPIs began as prescription remedies but are now available over the counter, which leaves doctor-prescribed options relatively limited.
The majority of prescription medications are PPIs and do not differ substantially from the OTC version, says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, medical director at CareMore in Cerritos, Calif. Patients are sometimes prescribed medications such as Reglan that increase motility in the GI tract. Like most medications, these are helpful for some and not for others.
Promotility Agents For Heartburn And Reflux
Promotility agents work by stimulating the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract, which may help prevent acids from staying in the stomach too long, and strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter, reducing reflux into the esophagus. Metoclopramide is a promotility agent occasionally used to treat heartburn associated with GERD. The side effects of Reglan can be serious and may include drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, restlessness, and movement problems.
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How Antacids Help Gerd Symptoms
Antacids are quick-relief methods that work by directly counteracting the acidity inside your stomach. The presence of these acids is natural in the stomach because they work to help digest food. The stomach is the only part of your digestive tract that is designed to withstand the low pH. When the stomach contents back up into the esophagus, it causes heartburn because your esophagus is not built to withstand acidity, especially over a prolonged period of time. Antacids help neutralize these acids, so the esophageal lining is less exposed to gastric acids.
Most antacids contain one or more of the following ingredients:
- aluminum hydroxide
- calcium carbonate
- magnesium trisilicate
Liquid versions tend to work faster. More convenient options, such as tablets and gum, are also available.
Traditional antacids are convenient to buy because theyre available over the counter. Some of the most popular brand names include:
Antacids are not recommended for people with kidney disease or high blood calcium levels. They may also interact with medications, such as thyroid hormones.
Heartburn Gerd And Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can put extra pressure on the muscles in the stomach and frequently cause symptoms of acid reflux while pregnant. Also, the same foods that cause heartburn in any person affect pregnant women just as much.
According to Dr. John Cunha on MedicineNet, some ways to alleviate heartburn symptoms during pregnancy include some of the following:16
- Raise the head end of your bed by 6 to 8 inches. This helps to take the pressure off your stomach and prevents heartburn in the morning.
- Lay on your left side while sleeping as this makes it harder for stomach juices to escape into your esophagus.
- Dont bend over after eating.
- Avoid foods that increase heartburn symptoms and consume more foods that prevent excess stomach acid.
- Chewing gum can help relieve heartburn symptoms during pregnancy.
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Path To Improved Health
To find out which medicine is right for you, talk to your family doctor. He or she can tell you about the benefits and risks. Antacids and acid reducers rarely cause side effects. If they do, the side effects usually are minor and go away on their own. These may include headaches, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor before taking antacids if you have kidney disease. You should avoid any antacid that contains calcium carbonate or aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate unless your doctor recommends it.
Talk to your doctor before taking a proton pump inhibitor if:
- You are elderly or have immune system problems. PPIs can increase your risk for pneumonia.
- You are a postmenopausal woman. PPIs reduce calcium absorption and increase your risk for osteoporosis.
- You have been treated for a Clostridium difficile infection in the past. PPIs may increase the risk that your infection returns.
If you are over the age of 55 and require long-term PPI treatment, your doctor may refer you for an EGD . This procedure examines the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestine. If you have significant reflux, your doctor also may test you for the bacteria H. pylori prior to trying you on PPIs.
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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