Saturday, May 16, 2009

Heartburn Medicine : Options from your Doctor

For most of us, heartburn is an occasional problem that can be easily treated with over the counter medications like antacids. For some however, heartburn becomes a recurring problem, getting in the way of daily activities and even causing damage to the lining of the esophagus if left unchecked for a period of time. Some sufferers find that a few simple lifestyle and dietary changes are sufficient for keeping heartburn symptoms in check. Others turn to heartburn medicine that is prescribed by their doctor for the most effective relief. If you are suffering from frequent bouts of heartburn and over the heartburn remedies are not controlling the problem, check out the options in prescription heartburn medicine.

Histamine-2 Blockers

One of the first lines of defense in prescription heartburn medicine is a histamine-2 blocker, also known as an H-2 blocker. Commercial names for this type of heartburn medicine include Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac. These medications work by reducing the amount of acid that is produced by the body. It is best to take this heartburn medicine about 30 minutes prior to a meal or before bed if heartburn keeps you up at night. While this type of heartburn medicine won't provide immediate heartburn relief, the effects will be long lasting. It is best in keeping painful symptoms away and will not work particularly well on healing esophageal lining that has already been damaged through exposure to harmful stomach acids.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

This type of heartburn medicine is usually the prescription of choice when damage to the esophageal lining has been diagnosed due to frequent bouts of heartburn. Proton pump inhibitors block the production of acid by the stomach, allowing the esophagus time to heal from damage. These medications, known by commercial names like Prevacid and Prilosec, can be found in over the counter dosing amounts as well, but doctors generally recommend that patients come in for an evaluation before taking any proton pump inhibitor. This type of medicine is generally taken one hour before a meal and can provide relief for many hours.

Promotility Agents

This type of heartburn medicine is usually the last one prescribed for those who cannot find relief with any other type of heartburn treatments. Reglan is one such medicine that is frequently used to treat heartburn or acid reflux disease. These medications work in a very different way from other types of heartburn medicine; by stimulating the muscles of the digestive tract and strengthening the muscle at the base of the esophagus. These medications usually include more severe side effects, which is why they are often prescribed as a last resort.

If home and over the counter remedies are not sufficiently keeping your heartburn symptoms under control, there are other options available. Talk to your doctor about the best heartburn medicine for you and say goodbye to the painful burning for good.


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