HomeNewsWhat Is The Best Prescription Medication For Heartburn

What Is The Best Prescription Medication For Heartburn

Dont Sleep On Your Right Side

What Is Best Medication For Heartburn?

Heartburn is common on lying down, as this allows stomach contents to press against the ring of muscle that normally keeps the stomach opening closed. When you like on your right side, the shape of the stomach means that stomach acid pools against the valve at the lower end of the oesophagus so that acid reflux and heartburn are likely.

If you sleep on your left side, however, this keeps the junction between the stomach and oesophagus above the level of gastric acid, and also makes it easier for trapped wind to roll up the curve of the stomach and escape as a satisfying burp.

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.

Special Considerations In The Elderly

GERD appears to be more common and more severe in the elderly than in younger individuals in fact age is an important risk factor for the development of severe forms of GERD . In the primary care setting in the US, as many as 20% of older patients report acid reflux , and in a Japanese study, the prevalence of erosive esophagitis in patients aged > 70 years was more than triple the prevalence in patients younger than 39 years . In common with the general population, the intensity and frequency of heartburn and other symptoms of GERD are poor predictors of the presence or severity of esophageal manifestations. In addition, older patients are less likely to experience severe heartburn than younger patients and the majority do not experience acid regurgitation as an initial symptom . More frequently, elderly patients with GERD report symptoms such as dysphagia, vomiting and respiratory difficulties, anorexia, weight loss, and anemia-melena . Because of this different symptom profile of GERD in the elderly, the disease, particularly in milder form, may remain undiagnosed for a considerable period of time resulting in hospital admittance for more severe disease .

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Which Is Safer Ranitidine Or Omeprazole

Both Ranitidine and Omeprazole are frequently prescribed for acid reflux. Both drugs have proven effective in treating this condition. Your doctor knows best what medicine to prescribe for your long term or maintenance treatment. Your doctor may still prescribe you with omeprazole since its widespread use and effectiveness. The choice of choosing omeprazole over ranitidine depends on the following reasons:

Heartburn And Reflux: Manage Your Medicine

Heartburn and reflux medicines are often only needed for a short time. Download a factsheet about managing heartburn and reflux.

Prescription medicine for heartburn and reflux, called a proton pump inhibitor, is often only needed for 4-8 weeks. If your symptoms are well managed, talk to your doctor about reviewing your medicine.

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A Pharmacist Can Help With Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Speak to a pharmacist for advice if you keep getting heartburn.

They can recommend medicines called antacids that can help ease your symptoms.

It’s best to take these with food or soon after eating, as this is when you’re most likely to get heartburn. They may also work for longer if taken with food.

What Is The Best Medicine For Gerd

GERD is medically treated with certain types of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The most common type of prescription medications for GERD are proton-pump inhibitors and H2 inhibitors. Both have over-the-counter and prescription forms available.

  • Proton pump inhibitors lower the amount of acid your stomach makes, allowing the esophageal lining to heal. PPIs can be used for long-term treatment.
  • H2 Blockers lower the amount of acid your stomach makes, also helping to heal the esophagus.

Mild cases of GERD can be treated with over-the-counter antacids. Antacids relieve mild heartburn by neutralizing the acid in your stomach.

Read: What is Acid Reflux Medicine?

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Ppis Can Change The Way Other Drugs Work

PPIs interact with some common prescription drugs. For example, some PPIs can reduce the blood-thinning effect of the drug Plavix , according to the US Food and Drug Administration. This can increase the risk of heart attack and even death. If you take Plavix, talk to your doctor about whether you should take a PPI.

What Other Information Should I Know

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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.

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Common Types Of Antacids

Many different types of antacid are available. Some are sold under a brand name and others are named after their main ingredient. Brands include Gaviscon and Pepto-Bismol .

Ingredients to look for include:

  • aluminium hydroxide
  • calcium carbonate
  • sodium bicarbonate

Some antacids also contain other medicines, such as an alginate and simeticone .

Surgical Treatment For Heartburn

Occasionally surgery may be performed, which aims to tighten the junction between the stomach and the oesophagus, and reduce the amount of acid that enters the oesophagus. This type of surgery is generally reserved for people who still have severe heartburn, despite taking a proton pump inhibitor every day, or for those who do not want to take medicines long term.

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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.

Omeprazole: Best Otc Heartburn Medication

Omeprazole, commonly known as Prilosec, is a PPI that reduces the quantity of food-digesting acid made by the cells within the lining of your stomach. In fact, Prilosec was one of the first and strongest PPIs created to combat acid reflux. According to Dr. Ghouri, Prilosec OTC âis usually sufficient in controlling symptoms in a majority of casesâ and has been the #1 Doctor Recommended frequent heartburn relief medicine for 14 years.

There are various benefits to using Prilosec OTC, most notably the ease of the dosing schedule and the effectiveness in lowering frequent piques of heartburn in individuals. When taking Prilosec OTC, you only have to take one pill per day for 14 days. Although it may take between one to four days to experience the full effect, Prilosec OTC begins to work, and individuals notice relief on the first day of treatment. After the fourteenth day, acid production should grow to be controlled consistently.

Prilosec OTC prices tend to vary, from being $18.44 on Amazon to $85.90 on Walmart. Despite the slightly higher cost than Pepcid, Prilosec OTC provides long-term relief from heartburn following the 14 days. Similar to Pepcid, the common side effects produced are only a headache and abdominal pain.

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What Are The Side Effects Of Proton Pump Inhibitors

Like H2 blockers, the common side effects of proton pump inhibitors are mild and include:

  • Headache

  • Diarrhea

  • Flatulence

However, concerns have been raised about serious side effects from using PPIs long term. These concerns have led the FDA to issue several warnings about PPIs. Side effects that may be associated with long-term use include:

  • Risk of fractures

  • Hypomagnesemia low level of magnesium in the blood that can lead to convulsions, fatigue, and muscle weakness

  • Increased risk of Clostridium difficile bacteria infections

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Increased risk of dementia

  • Lupus-like syndrome that causes lesions on the skin

Importantly, most studies on these effects are observational and havent established a direct link between the medications and the effects. But nearly all the effects were seen in people who took these medications long term.

Be sure to work with your healthcare provider to figure out how long you should be on PPIs and whether the risks outweigh the benefits of taking them for more than a few weeks.

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

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For When H2 Blockers Dont Help Proton Pump Inhibitors

If youve been taking H2 blockers for a few weeks and your acid reflux symptoms arent letting up or havent lessened, then you might need a proton pump inhibitor . PPIs are the most powerful drug for reducing acid production and typically the most effective treatment for GERD. PPIs work by blocking an enzyme that produces stomach acid, causing them to make less acid and soothe heartburn symptoms.

PPIs come in pill form, and while many are available by prescription only, some are available over-the-counter. Unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor, PPIs should be taken on an empty stomach 30 to 60 minutes before eating breakfast, once daily for 14 days. While it may take between 1 to 4 days for the full effects to kick in, people may experience complete relief from their symptoms within 24 hours.

Common Proton Pump Inhibitors

  • Lansoprazole
  • Omeprazole
  • Omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate
  • Esomeprazole

A meta-analysis of 41 studies comparing PPIs found no differences among the various kinds of PPIs in treating GERD.

Proton Pump Inhibitors Side Effects

Mild symptoms include:

However, long term use of PPIs has raised concerns with potential associated side effects, including:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Increased risk of fractures
  • Increased risk of pneumonia and dementia
  • Hypomagnesemia low level of magnesium in the blood that can lead to convulsions, fatigue, and muscle weakness
  • Increased risk of Clostridium difficile bacteria infections

Acid Reducers For Heartburn

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There are two types of drugs that cut down on the production of acid in the stomach: histamine antagonists and proton pump inhibitors .

Examples of H2 blockers available over the counter include:

Note: The H2 blocker ranitidine, which was in older Zantac products, was removed from the market in 2020 after it was found to contain a cancer-causing agent.

The proton-pump inhibitors esomeprazole , lansoprazole , and omeprazole are sold over-the-counter to treat frequent heartburn for 14 days. These types of medicines are also available as higher-strength prescriptions. Take them according to the directions on the package or as advised by your doctor.

If these medications don’t relieve your symptoms, or if your heartburn symptoms get worse or last for longer than 2 weeks, you should see your doctor.

Read Also: How To Avoid Heartburn And Acid Reflux

Taking Antacids With Food Alcohol And Other Medicines

It’s best to take antacids with food or soon after eating because this is when you’re most likely to get indigestion or heartburn.

The effect of the medicine may also last longer if taken with food.

Antacids can affect how well other medicines work, so do not take other medicines within 2 to 4 hours of taking an antacid.

You can drink alcohol while taking antacids, but alcohol can irritate your stomach and make your symptoms worse.

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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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.

How Should This Medicine Be Used

Prescription omeprazole comes as a delayed-release capsule, and packets of delayed-release granules for suspension to take by mouth or give through a feeding tube. Nonprescription omeprazole comes as a delayed-release tablet to take by mouth. Prescription omeprazole should be taken at least 1 hour before a meal. Prescription omeprazoleis usually taken once a day before a meal but may be taken twice a day when used with other medications to eliminate H. pylori, or up to three times a day, before meals when used to treat conditions in which the stomach produces too much acid. The nonprescription delayed-release tablets are usually taken once a day in the morning at least 1 hour before eating for 14 days in a row. If needed, additional 14-day treatments may be repeated, not more often than once every 4 months. To help you remember to take omeprazole, take it at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label or the package label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take omeprazole exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often or for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor or stated on the package.

If you are taking the delayed-release tablets, swallow them whole with a full glass of water. Do not split, chew, or crush them or crush and mix them into food.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.

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Sarah is a freelance writer with a focus on health and wellness. She has written for publications like Women’s Health, Healthline, and Parents. She taught creative writing for five years, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University.

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When heartburn or acid indigestion strikes, you need something that settles your stomach ASAP. Its no fun to walk around feeling like you have your own personal fire-breathing dragon raging in your esophagus, and its even less fun to battle the burn while trying to work, exercise, drive through rush hour traffic, or sleep.

If youre prone to bouts of GI distress, its smart to have a reliable over-the-counter antacid on hand that can provide quick relief. Why? Because these medications can decrease the amount of stomach acid you produce, says University of Missouri Health Care gastroenterologist Yezaz Ghouri, MD.

The stomach normally produces hydrochloric acid to help digest food and kill bacteria or other organisms that may have been ingested along with the food, Dr. Ghouri explains. When there is an overproduction of the acid, it can lead to stomach discomfort.