Acid reflux occurs when digestive juices leave the stomach and rise up into the oesophagus and back of the mouth. Acids cause burning sensations in the oesophagus, chest, throat and abdomen. Other symptoms include a dry cough, asthma symptoms and swallowing difficulties. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse says people of all ages get acid reflux and risk factors include obesity, pregnancy and smoking. Foods that increase this condition include citrus fruits, chocolate, alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, fatty and fried foods, spicy foods and tomato-based foods. Over-the-counter remedies for acid reflux treat symptoms as effectively as prescription medications.
Over-the-counter antacids provide acid reflux relief by neutralising stomach acid production. People with mild cases of acid reflux get fast, short-term relief when they take antacids. Brand name antacids include Maalox Regular Strength, Tums Regular, Pepcid Complete Chewable Tablets, Rolaids, Ex-Lax Milk of Magnesia Stimulant Free Liquid Laxative/Antacid, Phillips' Chewable Tablets Antacid-Laxative Stimulant Free and Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief.
Over-the-counter acid reflux remedies containing bismuth subsalicylates work by balancing the bodily fluids moving through the bowels, removing toxins from bacteria and killing germs. Common bismuth subsalicylates include Kaopectate, Pepto-Bismol and Maalox Maximum Strength Total Stomach Relief. These over-the-counter remedies only treat occasional acid reflux flare-ups.
H2 blockers reduce stomach acid production, but they don't provide the immediate symptom relief as antacids. When H2 blockers begin treating symptoms, though, people with acid reflux experience longer relief. Tagamet HB 200, Pepcid AC and Zantac 75 are over-the-counter remedies. Some products combine the fast action of antacids and the lasting results of H2 blocker. Pepcid Complete combines these two acid reflux remedies with famotidine, calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide for fast results.
Proton pump inhibitors
People who suffer from acid reflux two or more days a week use this over-the-counter drug as a treatment option. Proton pump inhibitors prevent acid production and takes one to four days to work. Prilosec OTC is the brand name of this type of acid reflux remedy. According to Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, Prilosec OTC is just as effective as prescription medications that are approximately 10 times more expensive.