What are the Different Types of Heartburn Treatment?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2019
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Heartburn can be treated with a number of different medications. Many antacids and acid blockers are available over the counter. If these don't work, proton-pump inhibitor medications may be prescribed by a doctor. There are also several lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods and stress, that can help prevent heartburn to begin with.

Heartburn is a painful burning feeling caused by stomach acid being pushed up to the esophagus. The pain also sometimes moves into the throat, jaw, back, and arms and typically feels worse if a person bends forward or lies down. Acidic meals, meals with excessive fat, smoking, consumption of liquor, chocolate, aspirin, and conditions such as hiatal hernia, diabetes, autoimmune disorder, obesity, stress, or pregnancy could also cause heartburn.

Antacids that are used for heartburn treatment include well known brands such as Rolaids, Maalox, and Tums. The active ingredients in antacids include aluminum hydroxide, magnesium, calcium carbonate, and sodium bicarbonate. These ingredients work by buffering the acid inside the stomach and that eliminates the heartburn. Granted, one of the problems with antacids is that, in serious heartburn treatment cases, antacids may be effective for only a few hours due to the fact that the stomach continues producing acid.


Acid blockers are a form of heartburn treatment that actually suppresses production of the acid in the cells inside the stomach without causing interference with normal digestion processes. Examples of acid blockers include Zantac, Pepcid, or Axid. These were previously only available through a prescription; however, now one can purchase acid blockers at a local pharmacy without having a prescription.

For heartburn cases that are frequent, severe, or otherwise resistant to antacids or acid blockers, there are proton-pump inhibitor medications that are used for heartburn treatment. Examples of proton-pump inhibitors include medications such as Prevacid, Nexium, or Prilosec. Proton-pump inhibitors are typically taken before breakfast in the morning and they work to block acid production even in extreme cases of heartburn.

If one is already taking medication, it is important to always talk to a physician and a pharmacist to find out if there could be any kind of negative drug interaction. For example, if one is taking valium, corticosteroids, aspirin, tetracycline, indomethacin, digoxin, quinidine, or iron supplements, there could be problems in simultaneously taking these medications and antacids because they could mix with stomach acid to cause problems that are more severe than heartburn. Also, if one is consuming a diet that restricts sodium or if one has elevated blood pressure, taking antacids which contain sodium bicarbonate could be dangerous due to the sodium content. In addition, individuals with kidney stones cannot consume calcium carbonate antacid due to the fact that the calcium will initially slow down acid buildup and then eventually cause increased acid in the stomach.

Keep in mind that there are steps one can take to avoid heartburn, too. For instance, not smoking and avoiding chocolate, liquor, and caffeine can help one to avoid heartburn. Also, reducing stress, eating slowly, and not eating within four hours prior to bedtime are things that can be done to prevent heartburn.



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