Medication FAQs

“These drugs suppress stomach acid,” says Dr. Spechler. “And people, in general, are able to tolerate them very well.” The catch is the side effects, especially for the PPIs.

In comparison to H2 blockers, they are more effective at reducing the flow of acid reflux into the esophagus. Your doctor may recommend these medications when GERD symptoms are persistent or severe, when other medications have not worked, or when esophagitis or Barrett’s esophagus has been diagnosed. Some people may use a combination of antacids, H2 blockers, and PPIs to control acid reflux. However, combining them can cause side effects such as diarrhea or constipation in some cases. Be sure to talk to your doctor before combining any OTC treatments for GERD with other medications.

Only if all else fails is surgery recommended. Because lifestyle changes and medications work well in most people, surgery is done on only a small number of people.

In a 24-hour pH probe study, a thin tube is placed down into your esophagus for 24 hours. The tube monitors episodes of acid reflux over the day and while you sleep.

There are several treatments that are effective in relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux (GOR). The right treatment for you will depend on how often you have reflux symptoms, as well as the severity of your symptoms. It might be difficult to figure out what to do when heartburn strikes. With such a variety of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, miscellaneous herbal or other natural remedies, and prescription medications available, choosing the right treatment can be an adventure.

GERD and GER (Acid Reflux) in Infants and Children

Overuse of some antacids can cause side effects, such as diarrhea or sometimes kidney problems. H2 blockers reduce the amount of acid produced in your stomach to lower your risk of heartburn. Typically, they start to work within an hour of when you take them.

Untreated and persistent GERD can also lead to more harmful diseases such as esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus, and esophageal cancer. Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed medications for the treatment of inflammatory conditions. Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and more. One common side effect of NSAIDs is peptic ulcer (ulcers of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum). Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking NSAIDs.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) for Heartburn and Reflux

The side effects of Reglan can be serious and may include drowsiness, fatigue, diarrhea, restlessness, and movement problems. In prescription form (usually higher doses than the over-the-counter versions), H2 blockers can generally relieve heartburn and treat reflux, especially if you’ve never had treatment before. These drugs are particularly useful at alleviating heartburn, but may not be as good for treating esophagitis (inflammation that occurs in the esophagus) that is the result of GERD.

found that a newer option called magnetic sphincter augmentation results in significantly reduced reflux symptoms. This less-invasive surgical procedure implants a ring of magnets-about the size of a quarter-at the junction of the stomach and esophagus. It expands to let food in, then tightens after you’ve eaten. There are potential side effects like difficulty swallowing-not to mention eliminating the possibility of ever getting an MRI.

GERD can also cause you to cough or have asthma symptoms. It can also make your voice sound hoarse and raspy. These symptoms can happen even if you do not have heartburn.

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