Learn more about GERD
Some people say they think that these drugs provide immediate relief, but they can take one to four days to work and should be taken for at least two weeks, or longer if your doctor recommends. PPIs aren’t meant to treat run-of-the-mill heartburn, but rather gastroesophageal reflux disease, when heartburn occurs twice a week or more for weeks or months.
These drugs help reduce symptoms by decreasing the amount of acid in your stomach. Antacids typically work within minutes of taking them, offering more immediate relief than other treatments. Most pregnant women have symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially heartburn, at some point.
These medications are available in nonprescription and prescription strength and in tablet, capsule, liquid, or powder form. They should be taken as directed by your doctor.
PPIs are usually taken under the care of a doctor to prevent acid reflux from recurring, but certain ones, like Prilosec, are now available over-the-counter. But while avoiding certain foods and changing habits may help people who deal with an occasional case of heartburn, these lifestyle modifications offer only temporary relief for patients suffering from more severe symptoms associated with GERD. If you use an OTC medication more than twice a week for your GERD, or if your symptoms don’t improve with treatment, call your doctor. Frequent, severe symptoms may be a sign of a more serious problem.
You may think you’re reaching for heartburn relief when you take a proton-pump inhibitor (PPI), a type of medication that helps block the production of stomach acid. PPIs are effective, and some-such as lansoprazole (Prevacid) and omeprazole (Prilosec)-are readily available over the counter. Others, such as pantoprazole (Protonix), are frequently prescribed for long-term use. But PPIs may have risks when taken over a long period.
For example, stopping smoking and drinking less alcohol can all make a big difference to the discomfort you experience. Some foods are more likely than others to trigger reflux symptoms so you may find it helpful to look at how you eat as well as what you eat.
- For some people, acid reflux symptoms may be relieved by changing habits, diet, and lifestyle.
- Antacids typically work within minutes of taking them, offering more immediate relief than other treatments.
- Stronger versions are available by prescription.
They’re the most powerful drugs for reducing acid production and are most appropriate for people with more frequent heartburn. They’re typically the most effective treatment for GERD. Many Americans use over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to treat minor gastrointestinal problems. In fact, OTC medications are often among the first treatments people use for symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as heartburn and regurgitation. For most people with the condition, heartburn and reflux is just a nuisance and little more than that.
Acid reflux can be prevented in some cases by changing the habits that cause the reflux including avoiding alcohol, not smoking, limiting fatty foods and other food triggers, maintaining a healthy body weight, and avoiding large meals within 3 hours of bedtime. However, studies show that people who take PPIs for a long time or in high doses are more likely to have hip, wrist, and spinal fractures. A child or teen should take these medicines on an empty stomach so that his or her stomach acid can make them work correctly.
Learn other ways to prevent acid reflux, including some lifestyle changes and medications. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is when food or liquid travels from the stomach back up into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This partially digested material is usually acidic and can irritate the esophagus, often causing heartburn and other symptoms. Treatment of acid reflux includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications including antacids and H2-blockers; prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors, coating agents, and promotility agents; and in severe cases, surgery.
Stand upright or sit up straight, maintain good posture. This helps food and acid pass through the stomach instead of backing up into the esophagus. In a 24-hour pH probe study, a thin tube is placed down into your esophagus for 24 hours.