Health Insider Update


Heartburn Medication: Read Before you Swallow

Heartburn Medication: Read Before you Swallow
August 28
09:53 2015

heartburn-medication-400x400 Before you take any type of mediation for heartburn, you must be certain that heartburn is actually the problem. Heartburn is usually described as a burning sensation in the chest sometimes accompanied by a sour taste in the throat. If you feel a burning sensation during exertion, you could be suffering from heart disease.

Heartburn medication can be broken down into three groups:

  • Antacids like Maalox and Tums
  • H2 blockers like Pepcid and Zantac
  • PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) like Nexium and Prilosec

H2 blockers and PPIs are also known as “acid suppressants.”

Choose an antacid if heartburn is a rare occurrence. Antacids provide relief for two to three hours and are sufficient for individuals with temporary pain. If you experience frequent, severe heartburn, you should go with an acid suppressant (H2 blocker or PPI). These powerful medications work by preventing your stomach from producing acid.

Tip: Since H2 blockers are weaker than PPIs, you should try them first.

getty_rf_photo_of_woman_with_heartburn_at_workIt might be tempting to purchase an over-the-counter heartburn medication without talking to your doctor, but we advise consulting with a doctor first. He or she will be able to determine if heartburn is really the cause of your discomfort. It’s important to know what you’re dealing with, especially because the long-term effects of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can be series.

Your doctor will also be able to tell you if heartburn medication will react to any other medication you might be taking.

Did you know: The only difference between over-the-counter heartburn medication and prescription-only heartburn medication is the strength of the drug.

Heartburn medication is generally considered safe with few side effects. However, make sure to speak with a doctor if you experience any of the following: diarrhea, bleeding gums, blisters, chest pain/cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, weakness, irritated eyes, difficult/painful urination.

Most doctors consider heartburn medicine safe for extended use. Just like any drug, however, there are risks as well as benefits. If you have been prescribed heartburn medication and it’s working, the benefits certainly outweigh the risks; if you’re taking the medication for the wrong reason, they might not. Make sure to speak with your doctor before taking any type of medication.





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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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