Medications to Reduce Heartburn
Work with your doctor to find the right medication or combination of medications to treat your heartburn. Heartburn medicines work in different ways. You may need a combination of medicines to control your symptoms. Common medications include:
- Antacids work to neutralize the acid in your stomach and include over-the-counter medicines such as Maalox, Mylanta, Riopan, and Rolaids. Antacids can have side effects, including diarrhea and constipation.
- H2 blockers work by decreasing acid production. They provide short-term or on-demand relief for many people with heartburn symptoms. They can also help heal the esophagus. H2 blockers can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by your doctor. Common H2 blockers include cimetidine (Tagamet HB), famotidine (Pepcid AC). nizatidine (Axid AR), and ranitidine (Zantac 75).
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) lower the amount of acid your stomach makes and are often better at treating heartburn symptoms than H2 blockers. They help to heal the esophagus and are useful for long-term treatment. Care should be taken; studies show that people who take PPIs for a long time are more likely to have hip, wrist, and spinal fractures. Types of PPIs available by prescription include esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), pantoprazole (Protonix), and rabeprazole (AcipHex). Lower strength medications including omeprazole or lansoprazole are available over the counter.
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