Feel Better Soon: How Can Prescription Acid Reflux Medicine Help You?
Category: Drug Information
Digestive disorders are more common than you think. In the U.S. alone, it affects up to 70 million people.
Some of the most common issues include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, gastroenteritis, and hemorrhoids.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is common as well. In fact, it’s one of the most prevalent GI disorders in the world!
Fortunately, there are prescription acid reflux medications that you can take that’ll help manage your symptoms.
What are they? How do they work? Find out by reading the rest of the post!
What Is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a disorder in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. It can affect people of all ages from infants to older adults.
Generally speaking, there are two types—erosive GERD (tissue damage is present) and non-erosive GERD (no evident tissue damage).
Note: Many people will experience acid reflux every now and then. It’s only classified as GERD if you experience symptoms more than twice a week.
Symptoms of GERD
Acid reflux often causes a burning sensation in the chest area—this is referred to as heartburn. More often than not, it happens after eating.
In some cases, there might be a bitter or sour taste at the back of your mouth. Some people might also experience chest pain or a sensation of a lump in the throat.
Rarely, it can cause difficulty breathing, which can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma.
Risk Factors of GERD
A number of things can increase your risk of GERD. For example, those who are pregnant or obese are at a higher risk of developing acid reflux.
Smoking and drinking can also aggravate the condition. Not only that, but eating certain foods (e.g. fried foods, fatty foods) can increase your risk as well.
What Causes Acid Reflux?
There’s a circular band of muscle at the bottom of your esophagus called the lower esophageal sphincter. When you swallow, it relaxes—this allows food to enter the stomach.
In those with GERD, the sphincter weakens or relaxes abnormally. As a result, stomach acid can re-enter the esophagus. Over time, this back-flow of acidic contents can damage the lining of the throat, causing it to become inflamed.
Complications of GERD
Left untreated, the stomach acid can damage your esophagus. For example, it can cause it to narrow—this can result in difficulty swallowing.
Rarely, it can also lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Basically, what happens is that the lining of the esophagus changes.
While there are typically no symptoms, it can increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Treating GERD With Lifestyle Changes
Those with mild GERD may be able to manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes. For example, it helps to maintain a healthy weight—that way, there will be less pressure on the abdomen.
In addition to that, you want to wait 2-3 hours after eating before lying down. If necessary, elevate the head of your bed a few inches.
Prescription Acid Reflux Medications
For some people, however, lifestyle changes won’t be enough—that is, they’ll have to take prescription medications to manage their GERD.
Here are a couple of drugs that are often prescribed for the condition:
H2 Receptor Blockers
H2 blockers are a type of medication that’s used when an individual has excess stomach acid. Aside from GERD, it can also be used to treat peptic ulcers and gastritis.
How do they work? They inhibit specific receptors on the surface of the stomach. In doing so, they block the actions of histamine, a chemical that stimulates the stomach lining to make hydrochloric acid.
As a result, there will be less acid in the stomach. Fairly quick-acting, these medications tend to work within 60 minutes.
Potential Side Effects
H2 receptor blockers are generally well-tolerated. However, some people may experience side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, dry skin, and headaches.
With that said, most cases are mild and tend to subside after a while.
Protein Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs are another type of medication that can be used to treat acid reflux. They work by irreversibly blocking an enzyme called H+/K+ ATPase in the stomach wall, which controls acid secretion.
This results in a significant decrease in stomach acid. While they don’t work as fast as H2 blockers for GERD, their effect typically lasts longer.
Potential Side Effects
PPIs are considered to be safe. As with all drugs, however, they can cause side effects in some individuals such as headache, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, abdominal pain, and nausea.
H2 Blockers vs Protein Pump Inhibitors
While both medications are effective at decreasing stomach acid, PPIs are typically considered to be stronger.
However, H2 blockers are better at reducing acid in the evening; this makes it a better option for those with ulcers (acid released in the evening can contribute to peptic ulcers).
Even with severe GERD, it’s not recommended that you take the two drugs at the same time. In fact, H2 blockers can affect the efficacy of PPIs. In other words, it won’t be as effective.
Treating Acid Reflux
As you can see, there are a couple of medications that you can take for GERD. Why bear with the symptoms when you can do something about it, right?
Looking for some prescription acid reflux medications? We can help—all you have to do is upload a copy of your prescription to our site. Yes, it is possible to get them from Canada!