What over the counter medication is recommended for acid reflux?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What over the counter medication is recommended for acid reflux?


Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Acid reflux, otherwise know as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a problem where the stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus, which irritates the tissues. Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, belching, indigestion, hoarse voice, chest pain, or an acidic taste in the mouth.

The first line of treatment for GERD includes lifestyle changes. These are: 1) Weight loss 2) Watching your diet (stay away from foods that cause heartburn) 3) Sleeping with your head elevated at least 30 degrees 4) Stop smoking There is alot of information on the internet regarding lifestyle modification in GERD, which you can read about if you want more info.

If lifestyle modifications do not help, then the next step would be to add one of the many over-the-counter medications available for acid reflux.
1) Antacids (Maalox, mylanta, Tums): Neutralize stomach acid immediately. Keep in mind that these medications can cause side effects like diarrhea or constipation. 2) H-2 receptor blockers (Zantac, pepcid): Reduces acid production, but over a 24 hour period. 3) Proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid) Lower acid production over 24 hours.

Contact your doctor if these medications don't seem to be helping after two weeks. At this point, you may need special testing by a Gastroenterologist to see what exactly is causing your acid reflux, along with recommendations for treating it effectively.

You should also let your doctor know right away if you are vomiting from the reflux or if your stools have turned dark. Good luck!