While physicians often prescribe “proton pump inhibitors” (PPIs) for the treatment of heartburn, research shows that up to 70% of people taking drugs such as esomeprazole (Nexium) and omeprazole ( Prilosec and generic) might not need such strong medication. Designed to treat garden-variety heartburn, PPIs can take one to four days to work. These drugs, which work by reducing acid secretion, are rather intended to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) when heartburn occurs twice a week for weeks or months. For symptoms that occur less often, it may be better to use fast-acting over-the-counter antacids such as Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, or Tums. Otherwise, it may be better to use over-the-counter H2 blockers such a famotidine (Pepcid AC) or ranitidine (Zantac 75). H2 blockers tent to cause fewer side effects and are less expensive than proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
When you take the time to understand what triggers heartburn, how it works in your digestive system, and the types of treatments that will block it- before occurrence- you’ll have a better chance to keep your heartburn in check. If you have questions about heart burn and what may be the best over-the-counter remedy, please ask one of our friendly Med-Fast Pharmacists at any of our 12 retail locations. Find a Location.