Treating Heartburn With Over-the-Counter Medicine

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If you’re one of the 40 million Americans who have Caffeine? Don’t they aggravate acid reflux?

For some people, but not others, says Weart. “Fatty foods are pretty universal triggers of Pepcid Complete, offer a fixed combination of the two medications. Or you can do the same thing by taking your favorite antacid with an H2 receptor blocker.”

You can also plan ahead to avoid heartburn. If you’re going out for a big meal as a treat, and know you might be eating some foods you shouldn’t, take your heartburn medicine early. “Take an H2 blocker (like Prilosec, a heartburn medicine in a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s). These medicines shut off acid production more completely and for a longer period of time.

“That’s the standard treatment for frequent heartburn,” says Weart. These heartburn medicines should be taken 30 minutes to an hour before a full meal (not just a cup of coffee and piece of toast) to maximize their benefit.

About half of those who complete the 14-day treatment will no longer have recurrent heartburn. You can try this course of heartburn medicine up to three times in a year; after that, says Weart, you should really seek a physician referral for long-term therapy.

When Heartburn Symptoms Might Be Dangerous

If you’re managing your heartburn symptoms on your own, it’s essential to know what symptoms should sound the alarm. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Pain or difficulty when swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bleeding or dark, tarry stool
  • Chest pain
  • Choking or shortness of breath, including severe, persistent hoarseness and

“>heart attack. And if you frequently use over-the-counter remedies and don’t respond to them or get an inadequate response, check with your doctor. Acid reflux can also be a symptom of something more serious, like malignancies.”