When it comes to acid reflux medication there is a plethora of choices to choose from. Depending on how bad the symptoms are will go a long ways to determining whether you need an over-the-counter medication or a stronger prescription drug. |
Before you begin taking medication for gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD) your doctor will recommend that you undergo some lifestyle changes first. This can include eating a healthier diet avoiding those foods that set off symptoms, stopping smoking, and stress reduction. If these changes do alleviate the symptoms of your acid reflux disease to a satisfactory level then a drug to help control acid secretions will be added to the treatment regimen.
The two main purposes of using a medication to treat GERD are; alleviate the symptoms of discomfort, pain, heartburn, and bitter taste that this condition causes, and give the esophagus a chance to heal along with preventing further damage and complications.
For those who suffer occasional bouts of acid reflux or who have more mild symptoms an over-the-counter medication is usually a good choice. For more severe symptoms a doctor will be able to prescribe stronger prescription medications. How often one has to take these medicines is dependent on the occurrence and severity of the symptoms. Some people will only need their medications on those days when symptoms flare up while other may need to take theirs daily.
There are four major groups acid reflux medications being used today and they consist of;
1. Antacids – These have been around for years and have always been used to relieve the discomfort of heartburn and upset stomach. The work by neutralizing stomach acids on contact and are generally used when someone first begins to suffer some infrequent and mild symptoms of acid reflux. Tums, Gaviscon, Mylanta, and Rolaids are some of the more well known brands.
2. Acid Reducers/H2 Blockers – These used to be available by prescription only but can now be had over-the-counter and any pharmacy. Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac are the most readily available and work by reducing the amount of acid the stomach produces.
3. Proton Pump Inhibitors – This group of prescription acid reflux medicines includes Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Nexium, and Aciphex. These are powerful drugs that prevent the stomach and intestines from releasing excessive gastric acids. They are used to treat severe cases of GERD, esophagitis, and stomach ulcers.
4. Promotility Agents – These work by helping improve the speed at which food moves out of the stomach and into the intestines. Reglan and Maxolon are two examples of this type of drug. This prevents excess acid build up and helps keep the digestive tract working at a reasonable pace. These drugs can have serious side effects so their use is limited to those who can tolerate them.
Working with your doctor will help ensure that you are taking the acid reflux medication that is right for you.
To learn more about acid reflux disease and its treatment please visit the website Acid Reflux Disease by clicking here.
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