Over-the-counter meds to get rid of heartburn

You’ve just eaten a delicious meal SolidWorks 2016. Instead of feeling satisfied though, you have that familiar uncomfortable sensation of heartburn. Ugh!

Heartburn, also known as pyrosis, is a burning feeling in your chest. It happens when stomach acid flows back up the oesophagus (the tube that carries food and fluids from the mouth to the stomach). This is usually because the sphincter (a band of muscle around the end of the oesophagus, that keeps it closed off) weakens, or doesn’t function properly. A bitter or sour taste in your throat or mouth is a common symptom when this happens.

Different lifestyle factors can cause heartburn. These include certain medications, being overweight, lying down after eating, spicy foods, tomato products, fried foods, alcohol, fizzy drinks or coffee. Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart and is usually harmless.

Different over-the-counter medications can help manage heartburn symptoms.

These may include:

  • Antacids
  • H2 blockers.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
  • Combination antacids.

Heartburn medication you can get without a prescription


Antacids help balance the amount of acid in your stomach to lessen heartburn, acid digestion and a sour stomach. Antacids may contain a substance called simethicone which helps your body get rid of gas. Common antacids include Alka-Seltzer, Milk of Magnesia, Gaviscon, Gelusil, Pepto-Bismol and Alternagel. Some of these antacids may contain ingredients that can cause constipation (e.g. aluminium), or diarrhoea (e.g. magnesium).Ask one of our doctor’s opinionsbefore trying antacids and if you do, follow the instructions on the label. Chewing this medication well before swallowing can help with faster heartburn relief.

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Acid reducers

The job of this medication is to cut down the production of acid in the stomach. These include histamine antagonists (H2 blocker) and proton pump inhibitors. Examples include Axid AR, Pepcid AC, Zantac and Tagamet HB. Proton pump inhibitors are usually recommended if you experience heartburn two or more times per week. There are also stronger dosages available. Take these medicines according to the label’s instructions and talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Combination antacids

This medication combines the acid-neutralising ability of antacids with an acid reducer (H2 blocker) to lessen symptoms of heartburn.

Good to know

  • Always read and follow the instructions on the label of OTC medication.
  • Don’t use medication for longer than the period on the label without talking to your doctor.
  • If you still feel heartburn symptoms or get worse after taking any of these OTC drugs, talk to your doctor as it may be something more serious like GERD(gastroesophageal reflux disease).
  • Avoid heartburn by avoiding foods that trigger heartburn (e.g. oily and spicy food), eating small meals instead of large ones, not lying down for two to three hours after you eat, losing some weight and quitting smoking.
  • If you experience dizziness, struggle to swallow or breathe, or have pain in other parts of your body along with heartburn symptoms, see your doctor immediately.