There are several ways to treat acid reflux. These include over-the-counter and prescription drugs, such as antacids and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
Acid reflux is when some of the acid content of a person’s stomach travels up into their esophagus. Recurrent acid reflux may indicate a person has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD is a common condition that affects around
There are two broad types of GERD medications: histamine receptor antagonists (H2 blockers) and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The latter include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, whereas there are currently only OTC H2 blockers available in the United States.
Doctors also recommend nonpharmacological treatments, such as lifestyle modifications, for acid reflux and GERD.
This article discusses different medications for GERD and acid reflux and how they work. It also explores some alternative treatments for acid reflux and GERD.
Scientists define H2 blockers as medications that help
People can take H2 receptor blockers orally as capsules, chewable tablets, or in a water-based solution.
It is very rare for people to accidentally overdose on H2 receptor blockers. However, these medications have a variety of potential adverse effects. A person may experience milder side effects, including:
- abdominal pain
- dry skin
- dry mouth
Other adverse effects of H2 receptor blockers can be more severe. These are more likely to affect people with kidney or liver problems or individuals who are over 50 years of age. These effects may include:
- slurred speech
The same 2022 review stated that
PPIs are popular medications. In fact, one of them, omeprazole, is one of the top 10
- hypomagnesemia, or low levels of magnesium
- vitamin B12 deficiency
- increased susceptibility to food-borne infections
- rebound acid secretion, which occurs when someone’s stomach acid levels are higher after stopping PPI treatment
If a person takes too many PPIs, they may also experience the following effects:
- skin rash
- abdominal pain
- back pain
- upper respiratory infections
It is important to note that PPIs are not always effective for everyone with GERD. For example, in around
Scientists have also developed various alternative treatment options for GERD. According to a
There are also a range of OTC PPIs:
- maintaining a moderate weight
- eating dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime
- maintaining good sleep hygiene
A person may also try elevating their head during sleep to help with GERD symptoms. However, scientists remain uncertain about the efficacy of cutting out particular foods when a person is able to manage their condition.
In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to treat someone’s GERD. This may occur when an individual is not responding well to PPI treatment, does not comply with pharmacological or lifestyle therapies, or experiences side effects from medication.
In the United States, one of the most common surgeries for GERD is gastric bypass, which helps by inducing an appropriate amount of weight loss.
Another common surgery doctors may recommend for people with GERD is laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication. This procedure involves a surgeon
Doctors may recommend that people take their PPIs first thing in the morning if they have a single daily dose. If someone has a twice-daily dose, the best time for taking the second dose tends to be 30 minutes before dinnertime.
People should make sure to follow instructions from their doctor when taking medications for GERD and acid reflux.
Acid reflux is when a person’s stomach contents rise into their esophagus. GERD is a condition that doctors may describe as frequent acid reflux. It is a common condition that can cause a number of unwanted effects.
Scientists have developed several prescription-only medications for GERD. Alternative treatments for GERD include lifestyle modifications, surgery, and OTC medications.
A person should consider speaking with a doctor if they are frequently experiencing acid reflux. A healthcare professional can recommend treatments and diagnose any underlying conditions, such as GERD.