People can use antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and other medications for symptoms of indigestion. However, a doctor must first assess a person’s symptoms, which may occur due to an underlying infection or health condition.

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Indigestion is a group of symptoms that occur in the digestive tract, such as burping and bloating. Doctors refer to indigestion as dyspepsia.

They may recommend over-the-counter and prescription medication to treat indigestion, along with dietary and lifestyle changes.

This article examines medication options for indigestion, explaining possible benefits and potential side effects. It also explores alternative remedies and answers some frequently asked questions about indigestion.

Indigestion may relate to what someone eats or occur due to other health conditions. Functional dyspepsia is chronic indigestion without a health problem or digestive tract condition.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) notes that indigestion may occur due to the following:

The medications doctors prescribe for GER and GERD are usually the same as those for indigestion. Doctors treat reflux and indigestion symptoms of GERD to prevent further complications and health issues.

Medications for indigestion may reduce or neutralize stomach acid or treat infections such as H. pylori. The following sections look more closely at medicines that may be helpful.

Doctors may recommend that someone try antacids to see if they relieve indigestion.

Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acids. Brand names and active ingredients of some common antacids are:

  • calcium carbonate (Rolaids, Tums)
  • simethicone (Maalox, Mylanta)
  • sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer)

In addition, the NIDDK states that loperamide (Imodium) is an antacid to treat indigestion. However, loperamide is a medication to control diarrhea. Therefore, a person should speak with a pharmacist to see if Immodium may suit them.

Potential side effects

Antacids may cause side effects such as:

In addition, Immodium may cause heart problems if someone takes a larger dose or uses it more often than doctors recommend. In some cases, this can even be fatal.

It is always best for people to speak with a health professional or pharmacist to determine which medication they may need.

Doctors may prescribe antibiotics if a person has symptoms of indigestion due to H. pylori infection. Antibiotics work by killing the bacteria causing the infection.

According to the NIDDK, a doctor will prescribe at least two of the following:

Potential side effects

Antibiotics may have some side effects, which include:

It is best to discuss the possible effects of this medication with a healthcare professional.

Read more about the side effects of antibiotics.

Histamine type-2 receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) decrease the amount of acid the stomach produces, reducing the symptoms of indigestion.

People can buy H2 blockers, or a doctor can prescribe them. They provide short-term or on-demand relief from symptoms.

H2 blockers include:

Potential side effects

Experts advise that the side effects of H2 blockers are uncommon and usually minor. They may include:

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are most effective for indigestion if someone also has heartburn.

They block gastric acid that the parietal cells in the stomach secrete. People can buy some PPIs, or their doctor can prescribe them.

PPIs include:

Potential side effects

A 2021 review suggests that people generally tolerate PPIs well. However, they may experience the following side effects:

The review states that recent studies suggest that using PPIs in the longer term may cause more severe side effects, including impaired absorption of nutrients, kidney disease, and dementia.

People can discuss the suitable dosage of PPIs with a medical professional to help prevent possible complications.

Doctors may prescribe prokinetic medications for people who have indigestion due to gastroparesis, a medical condition that affects the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine.

Prokinetics help the gastrointestinal system move stomach contents using muscular contractions.

Prescription prokinetics include bethanechol (Urecholine) and metoclopramide (Reglan).

Potential side effects

A 2021 review explains that metoclopramide is the only drug that health authorities in the United States approve for gastroparesis.

However, they recommend using it for fewer than 3 months due to the risk of reversible or irreversible uncontrollable tremors.

The NIDDK advises people to change what they eat and drink to reduce indigestion. This may involve avoiding:

  • alcohol
  • spicy or greasy foods
  • carbonated drinks and sodas
  • caffeine
  • acidic foods such as citrus and tomatoes

If anxiety or depression are causing symptoms of indigestion, a doctor may recommend the following to help with those conditions:

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about indigestion.

What helps indigestion quickly?

Sodium bicarbonate may provide relief for some people. However, this depends on the causes of indigestion.

People with high blood pressure or other heart or kidney conditions will need to ask a doctor before using it.

What does indigestion feel like?

Indigestion may feel like a burning pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. It may cause people to burp and feel bloated or too full.

People can buy several medications for indigestion over the counter or obtain them with a prescription from a doctor. These include antacids, H2 blockers, and PPIs.

However, people will need to get a diagnosis for their indigestion symptoms, which may sometimes occur due to an infection such as H. pylori or a gastrointestinal condition such as GERD. The diagnosis will help determine the most suitable line of treatment.