What Can You Take for Acid Reflux?

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Acid reflux is a condition that occurs when you have persistent and chronic heartburn. Heartburn occurs when you feel irritation or inflammation due to acid in the esophagus. The stomach normally produces acid during digestion, but when too much of this acid backs up into the esophagus, it irritates the lining of the esophagus. This can be treated using prescription and non-prescription methods.

Antacids

  • Antacids, such as Rolaids, are the best treatment method for mild, more occasional heartburn. They may not be appropriate if you have severe acid reflux, but can be helpful in getting acid reflux under control. Their purpose is to neutralize acids in the stomach. They can be taken shortly before a meal, on an as-needed basis. Although they provide almost immediate relief from heartburn symptoms, the relief only lasts for two to three hours before the neutralizing effects fade.

H2-Receptor Antagonists

  • H2-Receptor Antagonists are appropriate for mild to moderate acid reflux, depending on whether you opt for a prescription H2-Receptor Antagonist or an over the counter option. H2-Receptor Antagonists work by inhibiting the bodies production of a histamine, a chemical which stimulates the stomach to produce acid. These medications do not begin to work as quickly as antacids. They can take up to an hour to begin providing relief. However, the relief they provide is longer lasting and can last between six and ten hours. Non-prescription H2 Receptors include Pepcid AC and Zantac 75. Prescription H2 receptors simply provide a stronger histamine blocker. They include Pepcid AC Max and Zantac 150. These medications can be taken daily, either in the morning or at night, but usually eight hours between doses is recommended at a minimum.

Proton Pump Inhibitor

  • Proton pump inhibitors block acid production in the stomach, by essentially "shutting off" or inhibiting the acid pumps in the stomach. Although they can take up to three hours to begin working, and several days to become completely effective, they provide relief for up to 24 hours, and are designed to treat chronic and consistent acid reflux. The drug can be taken on a daily basis, but you should not take it for more than 14 consecutive days without consulting with a physician. Prilosec OTC is a non-prescription proton pump inhibitor.

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