- Heartburn Slideshow: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid
- Digestive Myths Slideshow: Common Misconceptions
- GERD Quiz: Test Your Digestive Diseases IQ
- Patient Comments: Heartburn - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Heartburn - Causes
- Patient Comments: Heartburn - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Heartburn - Triggers
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- Heartburn facts
- What is the definition of heartburn?
- What causes heartburn?
- What does acid reflux look like?
- What are the symptoms of heartburn?
- Foods and beverages to avoid
- How is heartburn diagnosed?
- What are treatments, relief, and home remedies for heartburn?
- Lifestyle changes
- OTC and prescription medications
- Surgical procedures
- Heartburn during pregnancy
- How can heartburn be prevented?
Quick GuideHeartburn Causes, Symptoms, Remedies, and Treatments
OTC and prescription medications
There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications available. These fall into three major categories:
- Medications that neutralize stomach acid (antacids): Antacids (Mylanta, Maalox, Rolaids, Tums) provide quick relieve because they decrease the acid. These medications don't heal existing damage to your esophagus nor prevent future episodes of heartburn.
- Medications that reduce the production of acid: These medications are named after the receptor they block (H-2 blockers) and are available as over-the-counter as well as prescription medications. Their symptom relief tends to last longer than antacids, but it also takes longer for them to start working. They are available as several brands and formulations (ranitidine [Zantac], nizatidine [Axid], cimetidine [Tagamet], famotidine [Pepcid]). Depending on the strength they are available over-the-counter and by prescription.
- Medications that block acid production: Proton pump inhibitors (for example, omeprazole [Prilosec], lansoprazole [Prevacid]) block the production of acid. This then allows healing of the damaged esophagus.
Note: You should make your health-care professional aware if you take these medications on a chronic basis as there can be interactions with other medications and frequent use will alert your doctor to the severity of symptoms.