Guide to Common Heartburn/Reflux Medications
Examples: Tums, Rolaids, Maalox
How they work: Neutralize acid in the stomach
How you take them: When symptoms come on.
How quickly they work: They usually work within a couple of minutes and provide short-term relief
Available: Over-the-Counter and by Prescription
Examples: Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac and Axid
How they work: Reduce the amount of acid your stomach makes
How you take them: Prior to meals you think may cause heartburn
How quickly they work: 20-minutes to an hour, but H2 blockers relieve symptoms for a longer period of time than antacids
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Available: By Prescription and Over-the -Counter
Examples: Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Zegerid and Prilosec OTC
How the work: Stop your body from producing acid.
How you take them: Daily, at breakfast. These medicines are for people who have severe heartburn often---at least a few times per week.
How quickly they work: Taken daily, they work to prevent symptoms
Read labels and follow directions carefully. Do not take these medications if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without consulting your doctor.
Stop taking any of these medications and call your doctor if:
- Your stomach pain doesn't get better when you use the medicine, or it gets worse.
- You need to take the medicine for more than 14 days.
Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor
Posted March 2009