There are a couple different options when it comes to treating and finding relief for GERD / Heartburn. The most common treatment options are Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec®, or Histamine Type 2 Blockers like Zantac®. Let’s take a closer look at both of these types.
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
Various medications are available to treat GERD. Most of these medications are not very effective. The most effective medication to treat GERD are the Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s). This class of drugs actually reduces the production of stomach acid. They work best if taken 30 minutes before you eat breakfast, but can be taken at anytime. They work by decreasing the production of acid, so it does take a bit of time for you to feel the benefits. If you use them regularly, you can achieve a significant reduction in acid production that will actually help heal damaged tissue and stop the symptoms and pain you suffer from.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) available in the United States:
- Prilosec® which is the same as Omeprazole®, Prevacid® which is the same as Lansoprazole® sold over the counter: Prescription PPI’s
Histamine Type 2 (H2) Blockers
There are histamine type two blockers (H2 blockers) which work by blocking the release of acid from the cells. They will reduce the symptoms, such as the pain of reflux, but are not as effective as the proton pump inhibitors.
Histamine type two blockers available in the United States:
Antacids are helpful by buffering the acid in the stomach. They only work for a short time and are not as effective as the proton pump inhibitors.
One of the main causes for an adult to awaken in the middle of the night can be GERD. By taking a proton pump inhibitor regularly the nocturnal awakening may stop, but at times we will ask that patients avoid eating food or drinking water 3 hours before bedtime. This way there is less food and water to come up into the esophagus during the night.
Surgical management for GERD is not recommended. Discussing GERD with your doctor is important as there are many problems associated with GERD beyond just feeling heartburn.
More About Heartburn & GERD