John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
If the patient still has heartburn symptoms after lifestyle modifications and use of antacids,
the health care professional may prescribe drugs.
Histamine-2 blockers decrease the amount of acid the stomach produces. Examples include ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), and nizatidine (Axid). Many of these drugs can be
purchased over-the-counter at lower doses, but patients will need a doctor's prescription for higher doses. They provide relief of symptoms within 30 minutes and are taken twice a day.
If heartburn persists, the doctor may recommend adding a drug such as metoclopramide (Reglan). Thisf drug empties food and acid quickly from the stomach so less
acid can reflux back into the esophagus. Reglan also helps tighten the LES muscle.
If the patient still has symptoms, the doctor will then recommend drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Examples of these drugs include omeprazole
(Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), esomeprazole (Nexium), and pantoprazole
(Protonix). These compounds prevent the stomach from secreting acid. They are very effective and are typically taken
once a day. These drugs are usually only prescribed if other drugs have not
helped the symptoms. Many of these drugs can be bought OTC at lower doses,
however, a doctor's prescription is required for higher doses.
Acid Reflux Disease (GERD)Acid reflux (GERD) is caused by acid backing up from the stomach. Causes of acid reflux include smoking, obesity, alcohol, medications, diet, and other medical ...learn more >>
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