Pharmaceutical Treatment for Acid Reflux Disease
When you’re experiencing heartburn, you just want to get relief as soon as possible. For most consumers, this means heading down to their local pharmacy and picking up some sort of over-the-counter antacid medication to try to soothe the burn.
While antacids are less expensive than alternative drugs, they may not always give you a quick remedy. Some people wind up going through boxes of antacids because their heartburn never goes away for good – just for a few minutes at a time.
Plus, they don’t work on the most severe heartburn cases – those who are really suffering from GERD and not just an ordinary case of indigestion. If you’ve been using antacids for long periods of time, then you may want to watch for the side effects that often plague antacid users.
These include diarrhea and kidney problems due to the magnesium they retain from excessive antacid use. Another pharmaceutical solution you might want to try is H2 blockers.
H2 blockers are also over-the-counter, but they last a bit longer. One of the drawbacks is that instead of instant heartburn relief like antacids provide, H2 blockers may take half an hour or longer. They work by cutting down on the acids in your stomach.
Like many medications, H2 blockers have side effects, including nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you’re a GERD sufferer, then you’ll need stronger treatment, since they don’t prevent heartburn on a long-term basis.
Your other option is to seek treatment using proton pump inhibitors. These are also known as PPIs, and they don’t just cut down on the acid production in your stomach – they halt it.
For those who experience GERD, proton pump inhibitors can give continual relief from heartburn symptoms. But there are some strange complications surrounding the use of these medications. In the December 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, they connected the use of proton pump inhibitors to hip fractures. They’ve also been connected to an increased risk of pneumonia.
Always make sure you seek the advice of a healthcare professional to assess the severity of your heartburn symptoms. While you may need medications to help you ease the pain, you want to make an informed decision when taking something that could negatively affect you in other ways.