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OTC GERD Treatments: A Look at the Options


Many People use over-the-counter (OTC) medication to deal with minor gastrointestinal issues. In truth, OTC drugs are sometimes among the many first remedies folks use for signs of gastroesophageal reflux illness (GERD), equivalent to heartburn and regurgitation.

Some folks can deal with their GERD signs with life-style modifications, like consuming fewer fatty and spicy meals. However these modifications might not work for everybody. For those who make life-style modifications and your signs don’t enhance inside a couple of weeks, your physician might recommend you attempt OTC remedies.

Three forms of OTC drugs that may assist management GERD signs are:

  • antacids
  • H2 blockers
  • proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)


Heartburn is attributable to acid reflux disease, which happens when abdomen acid flows up into the esophagus. Medical doctors typically recommend antacids as a primary therapy to assist soothe minor heartburn. These medication assist scale back signs by lowering the quantity of acid in your abdomen. Antacids sometimes work inside minutes of taking them, providing extra quick aid than different remedies.

Antacids comprise aluminum, magnesium, calcium, or some mixture of those substances. They’re sometimes accessible as chewable or dissolving tablets. Some manufacturers can be found as liquids or gums as effectively. Widespread OTC antacids embody:

  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Gelusil
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Rolaids
  • Tums

Antacids typically trigger uncomfortable side effects equivalent to diarrhea and constipation. These uncomfortable side effects are extra widespread when antacids are used too typically. You’ll want to observe the dosage directions on the package deal of your antacid.

H2 blockers

H2 blockers scale back the quantity of acid produced in your abdomen to decrease your danger of heartburn. Sometimes, they begin to work inside an hour of whenever you take them. This implies they act extra slowly than antacids. Nevertheless, they’ll present longer symptom aid, lasting eight to 12 hours.

H2 blockers can be found OTC and by prescription. The OTC H2 blockers embody:

  • cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
  • famotidine (Calmicid, Fluxid, Pepcid AC)
  • nizatidine (Axid, Axid AR)
  • ranitidine (Tritec, Wal-Zan, Zantac 25, Zantac 75, Zantac 150)

H2 blockers may cause uncomfortable side effects equivalent to:

  • headache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

PPIs block acid manufacturing in your abdomen. They’re probably the most highly effective medication for decreasing acid manufacturing and are most acceptable for folks with extra frequent heartburn. They’re sometimes the simplest therapy for GERD.

PPIs are available capsule type. Many can be found by prescription solely, however a couple of can be found OTC:

  • lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR)
  • omeprazole (Losec, Omesec, Prilosec OTC)
  • omeprazole with sodium bicarbonate (Zegerid)

PPIs might trigger a number of uncomfortable side effects, together with:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • ache in your stomach
  • upset abdomen
  • headache

Uncomfortable side effects which might be much less widespread however extra severe have additionally been linked to PPI utilization. These embody an elevated danger of pneumonia and bone fracture.

Combining OTC merchandise

Some folks might use a mix of antacids, H2 blockers, and PPIs to regulate acid reflux disease. Nevertheless, combining them may cause uncomfortable side effects equivalent to diarrhea or constipation in some instances. You’ll want to speak to your physician earlier than combining any OTC remedies for GERD with different drugs.

OTC vs. prescription GERD medication

It’s possible you’ll marvel if an OTC or prescription GERD remedy can be higher for you. The appropriate alternative relies on how frequent and extreme your signs are.

In case your signs aren’t very frequent or extreme, OTC drugs may go effectively. The OTC types of H2 blockers and PPIs have decrease dosage ranges than the prescription variations. They’re authorised for short-term aid of minor discomfort.

For those who use an OTC remedy greater than twice every week in your GERD, or in case your signs don’t enhance with therapy, name your physician. Frequent, extreme signs could also be an indication of a extra major problem. And so they might worsen over time if left untreated. In these instances, you could want a prescription remedy.

Prescription drugs can present stronger aid from GERD signs. Sure prescription-strength drugs, equivalent to prescription PPIs, may assist heal harm to the esophagus attributable to acid reflux disease.

Speak together with your physician

You probably have GERD signs and aren’t certain what sort of remedy to take, speak to your physician. They will affirm whether or not you have got GERD and develop a therapy plan that can be just right for you. You’ll want to ask your physician any questions you’ll have. These may embody:

  • What life-style modifications might scale back my signs?
  • Which form of OTC remedy can be greatest for me?
  • Would a prescription GERD remedy work higher for me?
  • Am I taking any drugs that may work together with an OTC remedy?
  • How and when ought to I take my GERD remedy?

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