Which treatment is right for you?
There are a number of products available over-the-counter indicated to help relieve heartburn, but heartburn medication is not “one-size-fits-all”.
How different medications work
Some heartburn treatments work to neutralize the acid or coat the esophagus, while others work to lessen the amount of acid the stomach produces.
Generally, those suffering from more frequent and severe bouts of heartburn will find more relief from medications that lessen the production of stomach acid. Watch the videos below to see how they work.
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- H2 Blockers and Histamine Receptor Antagonists
These partially block production of acid in the stomach cells by inhibiting histamine, a substance that stimulates secretion of stomach acid. Over-the-counter H2 blockers relieve heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach and prevent meal-induced heartburn. These acid reducers generally relieve symptoms for a longer period of time than antacids, but take time to work initially. Over-the-counter H2 blockers include store-brand Famotidine (treats the same symptoms as Pepcid® AC) and Cimetidine (treats the same symptoms as Tagamet® HB200).
Indications: Relieves heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach; also appropriate as a preventive heartburn measure.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs deactivate the pumps in the stomach lining from producing acid, significantly inhibiting acid production (and its overproduction) at the source. Over-the-counter PPIs include store-brand Omeprazole (treats the same symptoms as Prilosec OTC®), Lansoprazole (treats the same symptoms as Prevacid® 24HR), and Esomeprazole (treats the same symptoms as Nexium® 24HR) to treat frequent heartburn that occurs two or more days per week. These products may take 1 to 4 days to work initially and are not indicated for immediate relief of frequent heartburn. Over-the-counter PPIs such as Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Esomeprazole should be used as a 14-day course of treatment every four months. You should not take PPIs for more than 14 days unless directed by your doctor.
Indications: Treats frequent heartburn occurring two or more days a week.