Use Heartburn Medication With Caution

Acid indigestion, or acid reflux, is a very uncomfortable feeling of burning in the chest. More commonly referred to as heartburn, it is suffered by over 60 million people, most on an infrequent basis. Fortunately, there are several forms of heartburn medication available.

Occasional heartburn is not unusual, especially after eating an overly large meal or one with a lot of spices and acids. The list of heartburn medication for the occasional bouts is a long one and includes such names as Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Maalox and Rolaids, among others, along with generic choices.

These are antacids that neutralize the acid in the stomach, but their effects are for the short term. If, after taking this heartburn medication for up to two weeks there are still symptoms of heartburn, a physician should be consulted.

Stronger Medication for Severe Cases

A different type heartburn medication, Receptor Antagonists, better known as H2 blockers, send signals to the stomach, telling it not to release as much stomach acid as it usually does. One of the disadvantages of H2 blockers is they can take over an hour before relief is felt. However, this is one heartburn medication which can be taken with antacids for immediate and longer relief. Never exceed two doses of an H2 blocker within a 24-hour period.

Brand names of such mecications include Pepcid-AC, Tagamet HB and Zantac 75. These can be bought over-the-counter with stronger versions available by prescription. Their use should not exceed two weeks unless under a doctor's supervision.

Proton pump inhibitors are a form of heartburn medication which actually stops most of the production of stomach acid. It is sold under various brand names as well as generic equivalents and there are over-the-counter versions as well as stronger doses available by prescription.

Prilosec and Pravicid are two of the better-known brands of heartburn medication and generic versions are available as well. The use of proton pump inhibitors should be with caution as they may cause too little acid production, which could interfere with proper digestion. Additionally, proton pump inhibitors may cause reactions with other medications, both over-the-counter and prescription so advice from your physician or pharmacist is recommended.

Once having taken heartburn medication for the prescribed time and have made lifestyle changes, your doctor may suggest other tests to determine the cause of the heartburn to develop other means of having it stopped. Persistent and sever cases of heartburn could be signs of other, more serious medical problems.