For some people, finding the right acid reflux prescription medications is something that turns out to be very simple, but for others, there may be some trial and error involved.
This condition is pretty straight forward, and there are many effective treatments and medications. Once you find something that works for you, you will probably have to take it for a few months to heal damage, though sometimes lifestyle changes can work wonders and you might be able to stop sooner. Most medications are of the once-a-day variety, but your doctor will tailor your prescription to your needs.
Here are five of the most common and most used medications for acid reflux.
Prilosec (generic name- omeprazole): You have probably seen commercials for Prilosec on television, and you might think it is an over-the-counter medication. Though there is an OTC form, there is also prescription strength available. This type of medication is a PPI, which stands for ‘proton pump inhibitor.’ This means that the medication is meant to lessen the amount of acid the stomach produces. Less acid production means less acid going up through the weakened stomach valve. This medication can promote healing of damaged tissues in as little as two months. This drug is swallowed whole, and has not been tested on pregnant or nursing moms.
Nexium (generic name- esomeprazole): Like Prilosec, this is a drug that is a PPI. It suppresses the enzymes that produce stomach acid to alleviate the symptoms and damage associated with GERD or gastric reflux. This comes in pill form, but there is an intravenous dose for special cases. This is often taken one hour before a meal, and is swallowed whole for best results. Also like Prilosec, this has not been studied with pregnant and nursing women.
Prevacid (generic name-lansoprazole): This is another of the PPI drugs, and it helps retard acid production while allowing the damaged tissues in the esophagus to properly heal. They can be swallowed, or there are tablets that can be placed under the tongue to dissolve rather than swallowed whole. Intravenous doses are available for those who cannot handle the tablet. This is also not be recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
Protonix (generic name- pantoprazole): Protonix is also a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) but is perhaps not as well known as the others. It works in the same manner though, and comes in only pill form at this time. Though this is a treatment for GERD, it is also known to be an effective treatment for ulcers. This pill might be taken in whole form only about 30 minutes before a meal for up to two months to decide if it is effective and if healing has occurred. This can not yet be recommended for pregnant and/or nursing women.
Tagamet (generic name-cimetidine): Though this is often thought of as an over-the-counter medication, it is available in prescription strength for those with persistent and daily heartburn problems. This works to stop acid production, but is different than the PPI variety of drug. It blocks histamines, which are known to stimulate acid production. In most cases, the prescription strength is only needed when there has been damage to the tissues. This is taken in pill form, and there is no research as to whether pregnant or nursing women should take it or not.
As with any type of medication, there is always the possibility that one of these might interact with other medications you may be taking for another condition, so be sure to let both your doctor and your pharmacist know what else you are taking.
You should find relief very quickly with each of these, and if you do not, talk to your doctor. You might need a different dosage of these acid reflux prescription medications, or you may not have acid reflux at all. There are times when other problems can mimic this condition, so if your meds are not working, you should get a second opinion.