Have you ever felt any sensation of heartburn when some sour liquid from the stomach got pumped back into your mouth? When you burp, only the occluded gases have to escape from the mouth and not the liquid. This may be due to weakness in the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. This is a common symptom affecting many people around the world which is termed as Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Nonprescription GERD medications can be adhered for mild symptoms but when the symptom frequents you, it is better to consult the doctor and take prescription for GERD. You must change your lifestyle like avoiding spicy foods, coffee and regulate your sleeping patterns. You must drink at least a liter of water early morning to dilute the acids in the stomach. You must do meditation to reduce stress in life and practice Yoga for better blood circulation in your body. Intake of antacids, Histamine-2 blockers like Pepcid (famotidine) and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec (omeprazole) can relieve the temporary heartburn if taken 30 minutes before each meal. H-2 blockers do not cure esophagitis which is the inflammation occurring in the esophagus.
Antacids like Gaviscon, Rolaids, Titralac, Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Pepto-Bismol, Riopan, Mylanta or Tums neutralize the acidity in the stomach and relieve heartburn. Gaviscon is a foaming agent which covers the contents of your stomach with foam to prevent reflux. This GERD medication is for people who are in the beginning stage of GERD with no damage to the esophagus. Titralac, Tums and Alka-2 are calcium salts resulting in constipation. They are chemically hydroxides and bi-carbonates of magnesium, calcium and aluminum. You may suffer from headache, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, sore throat, gas, runny nose and diarrhea as the side effect when you take in magnesium salt or suffer from constipation if you take in aluminum salts.
A balance of both the salts, avoid the side effects. Histamine-2 blockers are acid reducers like Axid (Nizatidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (Cimetidine) or Zantac (Ranitidine). In combination with lifestyle change, this GERD medication cures your symptoms. Proton pump inhibitors also reduce acidity in your stomach. These medicines are more superior to H-2 blockers. When you are affected by severe GERD symptoms or by inflammation of the esophagus, proton pump inhibitors do the wonder. Nexium (Esomeprazole), Zegerid, Prevacid (Lansoprazole), Prilosec (Omeprazole), Protonix (Pantoprazole) or Aciphex (Raberazole) are the examples of proton pump inhibitors generally prescribed by the doctor. These GERD medications protect the esophagus from acid and heal its inflammation. All the medicines create some side effects.
You can use promotility agents during symptoms of GERD and heartburn. They stimulate the gastrointestinal muscles which make the acids not to stay too long in the stomach. The lower esophageal sphincter is made stronger to avoid refluxing. Reglan (Metoclopramide) can be used for a period of 4 to 12 weeks when the heartburn is persistent. It is more effective for heartburn that is experienced after a meal or during the day time. This is a good medicine for patients who are suffering from diabetes due to poor emptying of their stomach (gastroparesis). They are cured from nausea, vomiting and abdominal fullness. Metoclopramide is characterized as a class of drugs called dopamine receptor antagonists. The effect of this GERD medication is increased stomach emptying and movement of upper intestines. Children should avoid taking this medicine due to the acute side effects. Reglan used in higher doses reduces vomiting and nausea during cancer treatments by radio and chemotherapies. This is an oral medicine taken 30 minutes before meals, four times a day and just at bedtime. You must avoid over dosage by using the correct measuring device for the medicine in liquid form. Before prescribing this drug, the doctor takes into consideration your age, checks your kidney and liver function and your active response to the treatment. Stopping the intake of Reglan abruptly brings in you a withdrawal sensation like nervousness and dizziness. To avoid this problem, the dosage of drug is slowly reduced. You must communicate to the doctor regarding the effect of the drug even from the first week.
Women during pregnancy at times are affected by GERD. This is due to the hormones slowing down the digestive system of the woman. The muscles of the esophagus work slowly in pushing down the food. The growing uterus has a pushing action on the stomach from below and GERD occurs. Lifestyle changes and usage of antacids are the normal advice for a pregnant woman affected by GERD.
Some medicines aggravate the severity of GERD. Oxybutynin (Ditropan) and hyoscyamine (Levsinex) are anticholinergics which impair the function of esophagus muscles. Sedatives like diazepam (Valium) and temazepam (Restoril) have similar effects as the above GERD medications. Narcotics (Opioids) like codeine and hydrocodone damage the muscle tissues in the esophagus.
Symptoms of more severity require a lifelong GERD medication treatment. Sometimes the doctor advises surgery for effective cure of this symptom.