Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be treated with medications to alleviate symptoms and keep GERD from progressing further. There are many options, both over-the-counter and prescription, that may help ease symptoms while keeping the condition from becoming more serious.
Antacids and histamine H2 receptor antagonists work quickly to reduce acid production, as well as providing temporary relief of symptoms.
If you suffer from acid reflux, your doctor may suggest taking an antacid to alleviate symptoms. These over-the-counter (OTC) medications come in both liquid and tablet form for convenience.
They act to neutralize stomach acid and decrease the likelihood of heartburn. They have also been prescribed for indigestion and diarrhea.
Antacids typically contain sodium bicarbonate, calcium carbonate, magnesium or aluminum. Some antacids also contain algin – an insoluble substance which increases the surface tension of liquids.
Sodium bicarbonate, the main ingredient in over-the-counter antacids, works rapidly to neutralize stomach acid and relieve heartburn. Unfortunately, it can also cause nausea or vomiting, particularly in young children and those with heart disease or high blood pressure.
Other antacids, such as those that contain alginic acid and simethicone, have different effects on the stomach and esophagus. Alginic acid helps prevent acid from leaking into your foodpipe while simethicone reduces gas bubbles within your stomach.
Antacids not only reduce acid levels in the stomach, but they also possess anti-inflammatory properties which could help prevent and treat ulcers. Furthermore, they reduce swelling that could potentially contribute to GERD symptoms.
Certain antacids have been scientifically proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, these drugs may help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Antacids should not be taken frequently as they can interfere with the absorption of other medications. It’s best to take any other medication an hour prior to or four hours after taking antacids.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is important to use antacids with caution and only as prescribed by your doctor. Pregnant women should especially steer clear of those that contain sodium bicarbonate since this could potentially harm the fetus.
Furthermore, you should avoid taking antacids containing aspirin because the Food and Drug Administration has issued a safety alert regarding these antacids due to serious bleeding problems experienced in some individuals who took them.
Antacids, particularly those containing calcium and aluminum, can be addictive. They may also cause side effects like constipation, kidney stones or low bone density. Therefore, it’s essential to inform your doctor of any problems while taking these antacids. In case of a severe reaction to an antacid, go directly to the hospital.
H2 blockers, also referred to as histamine receptor antagonists or histamine 2 (H2) receptor antagonists, decrease stomach acid production by blocking histamine receptors in your stomach. These drugs may provide temporary relief of symptoms associated with GERD, gastritis and other conditions caused by excess stomach acid production.
Histamine is a chemical that stimulates cells in your stomach lining to produce hydrochloric acid, the primary digestive acid. When this happens, you may experience heartburn – an often-felt symptom of acid reflux.
Histamine can cause excessive acid production and irritate the lining of your esophagus, leading to inflammation known as esophagitis – an upper respiratory infection.
H2 blockers such as PEPCID(r) and Ranitidine (Zantac) can help reduce histamine production in your stomach and prevent additional acid from being produced. These medications work quickly to reduce histamine production and relieve symptoms, with effects lasting up to 12 hours.
Doctors typically recommend H2 blockers when treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, which causes acid to flow back into your esophagus and may lead to serious issues like esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus. They may also help keep peptic ulcers from returning.
H2 blockers can provide relief from symptoms, and are typically taken daily if the symptoms are severe. Before taking any regular H2 blocker medication, consult with your doctor to make sure it’s suitable and safe to combine with other medications.
In addition to H2 blockers, you may require a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) in order to reduce stomach acid. Although these medicines are more efficient than antacids, they come with potential side effects and may not be suitable for all individuals.
Finding the right medication for you requires speaking to your doctor about your symptoms and lifestyle. They can then prescribe a drug tailored specifically to your situation. Furthermore, you can save on prescriptions with copay savings cards or free GoodRx discounts.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors are medications prescribed to treat severe gastric acid-related conditions, such as peptic ulcer disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-associated ulcers and Helicobacter pylori eradication. These drugs work by blocking the final step in stomach acid secretion from parietal cells; they can be a lifesaver for those suffering from acid-related issues.
These medications come in the form of tablets or capsules that should be taken by mouth before meals. Your healthcare provider will determine the precise dose and timing for these drugs.
A proton pump inhibitor can alleviate symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as heartburn and indigestion. Furthermore, this medication may help heal a damaged lower esophageal sphinter. Studies have demonstrated that taking this medication reduces both frequency and severity of recurring acid reflux episodes.
Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (Aciphex) are the most widely prescribed in the United States. Other PPIs approved in America include esomeprazole (Nexium) and rosiglitazone (Aciphex).
Many doctors believe these drugs provide long-lasting relief of acid reflux and other stomach issues, yet there have been concerns about their safety. One study revealed that people taking long-term proton pump inhibitors were twice as likely to experience a hip fracture than those without such drugs.
Another potential risk is that these medications may cause an extended elevation in the pH level in the stomach, potentially leading to enterochromaffin-like cell hyperplasia and bacterial overgrowth.
That is why it’s essential to consult your doctor about the best medication for you and your symptoms. Your physician may suggest switching to another PPI if one medication causes side effects or other complications.
Though there are differences between PPIs, all have been demonstrated to be effective in treating symptoms associated with GERD and other digestive disorders. Furthermore, they all work at similar dosages so as to reduce stomach acid production.
Prescription medications should only be prescribed for serious conditions, so it’s essential to speak with a doctor about what and when to take. Prescription medications may also be beneficial if you’re allergic to over-the-counter heartburn medications or want to avoid their potential side effects.
Famotidine is an H2-blocker medication that reduces stomach acid production. It has become widely prescribed to treat chronic heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and ulcers.
It works by blocking histamine H2-receptors on parietal cells in your stomach, thus decreasing acid production and protecting esophagus and other parts of the digestive tract from irritation.
H2-blockers don’t provide as much relief as antacids do, but they can still help alleviate symptoms and protect the stomach from further harm. H2-blockers may be especially beneficial for people who can’t take antacids due to an underlying medical condition like diabetes or peptic ulcer disease (an inflammation of the lining of the stomach).
Due to its strength, famotidine should only be prescribed for severe cases of reflux and ulcers. It has also been known off-label to treat stress ulcers – a condition that often develops in individuals under extreme stress.
Aspirin should be taken orally, usually once daily at bedtime. It comes in both tablet and liquid forms; the recommended dose for adults and children weighing 40 kg (88 pounds) or more is 40 mg per day; however, lower doses may be prescribed for those who are very young or have other gastrointestinal issues.
Famotidine, like all drugs, may cause unwanted side effects. These could include headaches, diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain as well as issues with your liver or heart.
If you experience any of the side effects listed above, contact your doctor right away. They may need to stop you from taking famotidine or adjust the dose you are currently on.
An excessive dose of famotidine can have serious repercussions for your liver. Signs that your liver may be affected include intense abdominal pain, yellowing of skin and eyes, as well as dark pee.