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What Is The Safest Heartburn Medication

The Difference Between True Antacids And Zantac

Mayo Clinic Minute: 2 questions for people who use heartburn medications

Antacids neutralize stomach acids and provide fast relief for acid reflux and heartburn sufferers. However, the relief is fairly short-lived. Zantac and similar drugs work slightly differently and are not true antacids.

They are called histamine-2 blockers and work to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces rather than neutralizing the stomach acid already present. H2 blockers generally do not act as quickly as antacids, but they do provide longer-lasting relief. Zantac is a type of over-the-counter H2 blocker. Other examples of H2 blockers include Pepcid, Tagamet, and Axid.

Acid Reducers For Heartburn

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.

How Much Do H2 Blockers Cost

H2 blockers are available in brand and generic versions. Generics tend to be cheaper than brands.

Generic appears to be more affordable than . The lowest GoodRx price for the most common version of generic famotidine is about $7, which is 59% off the average retail price of $17.08. The lowest GoodRx price for the most common version of cimetidine is around $17.80, which is 67% off the average retail price of $54.48.

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What Makes It Better

For most women, things that help reduce acid production or prevent reux are helpful in avoiding the discomfort of heartburn. Here are tips that may help:

  • Avoid classic spicy foods, as well as those with lots of fat or grease. Many people recommend avoiding citrus and chocolate, as well.

  • Eat multiple, small meals spread throughout the day, much like grazing, instead of three big meals.

  • Try elevating the head of your bed by several inches, and wait a while after eating before going to bed or lying down.

Some women find that its better to drink fluids between meals, rather than with a meal. This can increase the amount of contents in the stomach.

If your symptoms do not improve after the above recommended diet and lifestyle changes are in place, talk with your healthcare provider about over-the-counter medicines. Antacids are available as chewable tablets and liquids. They work by coating the lining of the esophagus and stomach and neutralizing stomach acid. Heartburn medicines called H2-blockers work by reducing the amount of acid made by your stomach. Although most of these are considered safe in pregnancy, as with all medicines, these should be avoided in the first trimester.

Also Check: Can Heartburn Lead To Cancer

Does Pregnancy Cause Heartburn

Kidney Safe Heartburn Medicine

Pregnancy increases your risk of heartburn or acid reflux. During the first trimester, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach and your stomach takes longer to empty.

This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients for the fetus, but it can also result in heartburn.

During the third trimester, the growth of your baby can push your stomach out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn.

However, each woman is different. Being pregnant doesnt necessarily mean youll have heartburn. It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits, and your pregnancy.

Relieving heartburn during pregnancy typically involves some trial and error. Lifestyle habits that can reduce heartburn are often the safest methods for mother and baby. The following tips may help relieve your heartburn:

Alternative medicine options include acupuncture and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or guided imagery. Always check with your doctor before trying new treatments.

Recommended Reading: What Can Help With Heartburn And Indigestion

What Can Trigger Heartburn

Certain foods and beverages can trigger heartburn in individuals. These include but are not limited to spicy foods, onions, citrus products, chocolate, peppermint, alcohol, and fried foods. Additionally, individuals who are pregnant or overweight may also have a higher risk of experiencing heartburn.

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.

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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.

Acid Reflux And Gerd Medicine

Is it safe to use acid reflux medications long term?

Acid reflux and GERD medicine works by lowering stomach acid to manage symptoms. There are three main types of medications available over-the-counter and by prescription. These are: antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors. This guide will help you understand what causes acid reflux and GERD and the pros and cons of each medication.

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Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux or heartburn, happens when the contents of the stomach travel back up into the esophagus. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a more serious, long-lasting form of acid reflux. Left untreated it can lead to scarring in the esophagus or esophageal cancer.

Acid reflux is common. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. At least 15 million Americans experience heartburn each day.

Also Check: What To Do If Have Heartburn

Heartburn Symptoms And Pre

If your heartburn symptoms donât go away with medicine, itâs important to see your doctor as it may be a sign of something more serious, such as pre-eclampsia. A pregnant woman with pre-eclampsia usually has high blood pressure and problems with her kidneys. Pre-eclampsia could also seriously affect a womanâs liver, blood and brain. Any pregnant woman can experience pre-eclampsia â almost 1 in 20 Australian women will develop it.

Because pre-eclampsia is dangerous for both you and your baby, you should let your doctor know if your heartburn medicine is not working. This is especially important if youâre also feeling very unwell or you have:

  • sudden swelling of your hands, feet or face
  • a headache that doesnât go away with simple painkillers
  • problems with your eyesight such as blurring or seeing flashing lights or dots
  • a strong pain below your ribs

Common Heartburn Drug Linked With Fatal Conditions

New research suggests that drugs commonly used for heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers may raise the risk of numerous fatal conditions, including heart disease and stomach cancer.

Physicians often prescribe proton pump inhibitors to treat gastrointestinal conditions that involve an excess of acid production.

Nexium, Aciphex, Zegerid, Dexilant, Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix are only some of the brand names that PPIs have taken over the years.

More than people in the United States take prescription PPIs, according to the most recent statistics available, and even more may be taking over-the-counter PPIs.

A new study, appearing in the journal The BMJ , suggests that these drugs may increase the risk of death from various chronic health conditions.

Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, an assistant professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, is the senior investigator of the study.

Read Also: How Do You Get Rid Of Heartburn When Pregnant

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Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

Do I Need To Stop My Heartburn Medication

Are Over the Counter Heartburn Medications Safe ...

Your doctor puts you on acid reduction medication. Or you pick up an over the counter medication to treat your heartburn. And then you hear from your friend that these are bad medicines with lots of side effects, and now youre scared. Are your bones going to break? Kidneys fail? Are you going to develop dementia?! Lets see if we can make things a little clearer.

Proton pump inhibitors were initially introduced over 25 years ago. The first was Prilosec and now theres Nexium , Prevacid , Dexilant , Protonix and Aciphex . They are available in various forms and strengths brand name and generic, prescription and over the counter. These medications all work by significantly decreasing the normal acid produced in the stomach. They are used to treat acid reflux and ulcers. Like almost all medications, they should not be considered good or bad. They have positive benefits as well as potential short and long term side effects.

For several years, there have been concerns that these medications might affect calcium absorption and increase the risk of osteoporosis when used for a prolonged period of time. Its now felt that while this might be a concern for some patients, it will not affect everyone. For people who require ongoing use, they should discuss this issue with their physician to assess their risk and consider further evaluation or be on medication to mitigate this potential problem.

Also Check: What Does Heartburn Feel Like In Throat

Maalox: Best Heartburn Medication For Immediate Relief

Maalox is an antacid used for very fast-acting relief from heartburn. In Maalox, Simethicone is used to help destroy gas bubbles within the gut, and aluminum and magnesium work to reduce acid levels in the stomach. This form of heartburn medication only works on existing stomach acid.

Maalox usually works within five minutes of consumption. However, the catch is that it will only work for 30 minutes to 60 minutes at the most. Thus, if you continue to experience symptoms for up to two weeks following your initial date of taking Maalox, you may need a stronger heartburn medication.

Typically, Maalox should be taken after meals or around bedtime. The most common side effects of Maalox include constipation and diarrhea. If these side effects persist for over two weeks, though, you may consider contacting a physician.

Is Dexilant The Strongest Ppi

Dexlansoprazole MR ensures the longest maintenance of drug concentration in the plasma of all known proton pump inhibitors, and the longest proton pump inhibitory effect.

It contains the active ingredients of both Nexium and Aleve . It is also the most expensive proton pump inhibitor in the U.S. According to CNN, a months supply of the prescription drug cost more than $3,000 in early 2018.

Read Also: How To Prevent Heartburn And Indigestion

Heartburn Drugs: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Risks

At some time or another, weve all been there. Whether one too many coffees, grandmas homemade marinara sauce or a really indulgent holiday meal, now youre reaching for some heartburn relief.

If you are like millions of Americans who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease , a digestive disorder, or other reflux disorders, you may reach for the purple pill or other similar proton pump inhibitors to relieve that burning pain in your lower chest.

But recent studies have raised some questions about the serious and even life-threatening side effects of these drugs. Are PPIs more harmful than helpful when it comes to treating GERD?

The good news is that in most occasional cases of heartburn, you probably wont need these medications. But if it becomes a recurring problem and diet and over-the-counter antacids, such as Rolaids and Tums, arent doing the trick, what should you take?

Short-term medication is definitely helpful when it comes to symptom relief, but usually this relief is temporary, and the symptoms usually return after stopping the medication, said Khoi Dinh Le, MD, a general and robotics surgeon at Banner Health Clinic in Greeley, CO. The general research consensus is that GERD is more prominent in those who are obese. However, dietary and lifestyle modifications, with the aim of losing weight in a healthy and long-lasting manner, can minimize or even eliminate reflux and heartburn.

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.

Recommended Reading: What Makes You Get Heartburn

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.

They include:

What Heartburn Medication Is Safe During Pregnancy

What medications are safe to take during pregnancy? Over-the-counter antacids such as Tums, Rolaids, and Maalox may help you cope with occasional heartburn symptoms. Those made of calcium carbonate or magnesium are good options. However, it may be best to avoid magnesium during the last trimester of pregnancy.

Read Also: What To Eat To Reduce Heartburn

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 If My Heartburn Won’t Go Away

Prilosec OTC Medicine for 24 Hours Heartburn, Reduces ...

Occasional heartburn is common, especially after big meals, and usually is not serious. But sometimes, that burning sensation can indicate something more serious, such as ulcers, bleeding or an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus.

Gastroenterologists recommend contacting your doctor’s office if your heartburn won’t go away after two weeks, you’re having trouble swallowing, or your heartburn is causing nausea and vomiting.

Recommended Reading: Foods To Avoid Heartburn During Pregnancy


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