People who experience chronic heartburn, acid reflux or gastro-oseophageal reflux disease (GERD) may benefit from medication to reduce stomach acid. Heartburn, stomach and throat symptoms usually subside with the use of over-the-counter or prescription acid-reducing medications, which can help prevent cancer or other serious harm to the oesophagus and digestive system.
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Over-the-counter antacids can neutralise the acid in your stomach and provide quick relief when heartburn symptoms start. Most antacids work by combining magnesium and aluminium to lower the amount of acid in the stomach. Try Tums, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, Alka Seltzer or Mylanta, which are available at almost every supermarket, chemist and superstore.
Some H2 blockers are available over the counter. H2 blockers do not provide the quick relief that antacids do, but they work for a longer period by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces. Over-the-counter versions of Zantac, Tagamet, Axid and Pepcid are available at drugstores and superstores.
Proton pump inhibitors stop your body from producing stomach acid. You will need to take them for a few days to see results. Use a proton pump inhibitor only if you experience chronic heartburn, defined as two or more days a week. Prilosec OTC is a popular over-the-counter proton pump inhibitor you can try if antacids and H2 blockers do not adequately relieve your symptoms.
Talk with your doctor before using any over-the-counter medication, and let your doctor know if you experience any moderate to severe side effects while taking over-the-counter medications to reduce stomach acid.
Prescription H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors are available for people with moderate to severe acid reflux or GERD symptoms. Prescription H2 blockers include Pepcid, Tagamet and Zantac. In addition to soothing symptoms by reducing the amount of acid in your stomach, prescription H2 blockers are used to treat stomach and intestinal ulcers and prevent them from coming back. Prescription H2 blockers can also prevent damage to the oesophagus caused by an overabundance of stomach acid.
Prescription proton pump inhibitors include Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec and Protonix. Prescription proton pump inhibitors stop the stomach from producing acid and are used to treat stomach and oesophagus problems caused by acid reflux and GERD.
Make sure your doctor is aware of exactly what symptoms you are experiencing, how often the symptoms occur and when they occur, so that he can prescribe the medication that is best for your personal needs. Always take prescription medicine exactly as directed, and notify your doctor of any side effects you experience. Let your doctor know what other medications you are taking, both prescription and over-the-counter, to prevent any drug interactions.
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