The Best Over-the-Counter Medications for Heartburn, Revealed
Category: Medical FAQ
Posted on January 6, 2023
Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.
Over 5 million of the Canadian population experiences heartburn on a regular occasion. Certain foods, drinks, medications, and lifestyle choices can contribute to this. While you can manage heartburn with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications, it is best to speak with a healthcare provider if heartburn occurs often or is severe.
There are several over-the-counter medications for heartburn that help relieve symptoms. In this article, we will discuss some of the best options for managing heartburn.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that often occurs after eating. It happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.
Heartburn can be uncomfortable and may cause a sour taste in the mouth. It is a common condition that you can treat with over-the-counter medications or home remedies. If heartburn occurs often or is severe, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider.
What Causes Heartburn?
Stomach acid flows back into the esophagus when the muscle at the end of the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), relaxes or weakens at the wrong time. The LES should close tightly after food passes through it. Sometimes it doesn't, causing stomach acid to flow back.
This is what causes heartburn. Certain factors can increase the risk of heartburn, such as:
- Eating large meals
- Eating certain foods, such as spicy or acidic foods
- Drinking beverages such as coffee, alcohol, or carbonated drinks
- Lying down after eating
- Being overweight or obese
- Taking certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
OTC Medications for Heartburn
Heartburn can usually be treated with OTC medications. These medications are available as pills, liquids, or gels and include:
Antacids are medications for acid reflux that neutralize stomach acid. They work by balancing the pH in the stomach to a less acidic level. Antacids are available over-the-counter and can be taken as tablets, liquids, or chewable gummies.
They are often used to provide fast relief for heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux. There are several types of antacids. Aluminum-based antacids contain aluminum hydroxide or aluminum carbonate to neutralize excess acid in the stomach. Examples include Maalox and Mylanta.
Calcium-based antacids contain calcium carbonate which neutralizes excess acid in the stomach. Examples include Tums and Rolaids.
Magnesium-based antacids contain magnesium hydroxide or magnesium carbonate. They too neutralize excess acid in the stomach. Examples include Milk of Magnesia and Phillips' Milk of Magnesia.
It is important to follow the instructions on the label when taking antacids. You must speak with a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen. Antacids may interfere with the absorption of certain medications.
You should not take them at the same time as these medications. They may also cause side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, or bloating.
H2 blockers are also known as histamine H2 receptor antagonists They are medications that block the production of stomach acid. They work by inhibiting the action of histamine, a substance that stimulates the production of stomach acid.
H2 blockers are available over-the-counter and by prescription and can be taken as tablets, liquids, or injections. They provide relief for heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux.
There are several types of H2 blockers, including:
H2 blockers are generally well-tolerated, but they may cause side effects such as dizziness, headache, and fatigue.
It is important to follow the instructions on the label when taking H2 blockers and to speak with a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen. H2 blockers may interfere with the absorption of certain medications and should not be taken at the same time as these medications.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are often used to reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces. They work by restricting the activity of proton pumps. Proton Pumps are the proteins in the stomach that cause the production of acid.
PPIs are available in various forms such as tablets, liquids, or injections. They can treat issues such as peptic ulcers and heartburn. There are several types of PPIs, including:
- Lansoprazole /Prevacid
- Omeprazole /Prilosec
PPIs are generally well-tolerated, but they may cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. It is important to follow the instructions on the label when taking PPIs and to speak with a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen.
PPIs may interfere with the absorption of certain medications and should not be taken at the same time as these medications. You should use them with caution if you have liver or kidney disease.
Alginates are a type of over-the-counter medication that is good for managing heartburn and other symptoms of acid indigestion. They work by forming a foam barrier on top of the stomach contents, which helps to prevent stomach acid from traveling back up into the esophagus.
Alginates are available in the form of tablets, liquids, and chewable tablets. Some common brand names of alginates include:
- Gaviscon Double Action
- Gaviscon Original
- Maalox RefluRAPID
- Rennie Duo
These medications can be taken as needed to relieve heartburn symptoms or on a regular basis to prevent heartburn from occurring. It is important to follow the dosing instructions on the medication label and not take more than the recommended amount. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider.
Combination Antacid/Acid Reducers
Pepcid Complete is a combination antacid/acid reducer that contains famotidine and calcium carbonate. Famotidine is an H2 blocker, which works to reduce the production of stomach acid. Calcium carbonate is an antacid, which neutralizes stomach acid.
Together, these medications help to relieve heartburn symptoms and prevent them from occurring. Pepcid Complete is available in chewable tablets. You can take them as needed to relieve heartburn symptoms or on a regular basis to prevent heartburn from occurring.
Zegerid OTC is another combination antacid/acid reducer that contains omeprazole, a proton-pump inhibitor, and sodium bicarbonate, an antacid. Omeprazole works by inhibiting the production of stomach acid, while sodium bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acid. Zegerid OTC is available in capsule form and should be taken as directed on the medication label.
It is important to follow the dosing instructions and not take more than the recommended amount. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider.
Buy Medications for Acid Reflux Online
It's important to follow the instructions on the label when taking any OTC or prescription medications for heartburn. Always speak with a healthcare provider if your symptoms persist or worsen. In some cases, heartburn may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a peptic ulcer.
This may require further evaluation and treatment. If you experience heartburn often or it is severe, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. Get your supplies here.