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The Most Well Known Over the Counter Gerd Medication

September 29, 2013

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Over the counter Gerd medication are widely available and come in pill, tablet, liquid, or dissolvable forms. Gerd, gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic digestive disease which can present with acid reflux or heartburn, however the difference is that Gerd can interfere with your daily life and can occur at least two times a week if not more. Most people can relieve acid reflux symptoms by taking over the counter Gerd medication and changing their lifestyle habits, but if symptoms persist acid reflux prescription medications are available, in addition to surgery and alternative treatments.



               
OTC medication for Gerd is so readily available it may be hard to determine which one is right for you. Over the counter Gerd medication can be broken up into three categories: antacids, acid reducers and a combination of antacids and acid reducers.  Here are the most commonly used over the counter Gerd medication.


Antacids

Antacids are the most commonly known over the counter Gerd medication due to their fast acting relief, plus they are easy to take. Examples include Alka-seltzer, Tums, Milk of Magnesia, Maalox, Rolaids, and Pepto-Bismal. Most antacids include ingredients such as magnesium and aluminum to neutralize stomach acid quickly; however these can also cause diarrhea and constipation. Although antacids can relieve acid reflux symptoms fast, they can also be short lived, which can cause symptoms to reoccur. Avoid overuse of antacids which can lead to serious side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and electrolyte imbalances.

Acid Reducers

Acid reducers can be split into two types of over the counter Gerd medications, histamine antagonists (H2 receptor antagonist or blockers) and proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Both help to reduce the production of acid in the stomach. The difference is that these medications take longer to work and therefore need to be taken 30 minutes or more before eating. However they do provide long lasting relief for acid reflux or heartburn.  Examples of H2 blockers include Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, and Zantac 75. Examples of PPI’s include Prevacid 24HR, Prilosec OTC, and Zegerid OTC.  These over the counter Gerd mediations should not be taken for more than 14 days. BothH2 blockers and PPI have prescription counterparts as well.

Combination

There is only one combination over the counter Gerd medication and that is Pepcid Complete. It combines the acid neutralizing ability of an antacid with the acid reducing capability of an acid blocker.  Again these drugs are not for long term relief and if symptoms persist contact your doctor immediately.