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Acid Reflux Medicine

Acid Reflux is a digestive disease that has several causes, abnormalities of the lower esophagus, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, and several others. Treatment early on in the disease treatment is a combination of lifestyle changes, including eating and sleeping patterns, and certain prescription and nonprescription medication. There are several types of medication for Acid Reflux disease. There are Antacids, Histamine Antagonists and Proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Additionally, there are pro-motility drugs, which increase the movement of food through the digestive tract and thus empty the stomach faster relieving the cause of GERD. In addition, foam barriers are used to block the esophageal area in order to prevent the acids from moving up into the esophagus.

Acid Reflux disease and treatment
The main symptoms of acid reflux disease (GERD), is heartburn, caused by acid from the stomach back up into the esophagus, which causes a painful burning sensation. Medications for acid reflux disease are aimed at reducing or eliminating the acids from the stomach that cause this burning sensation. There are three main categories of medications.

1 Antacids (Tums, Rolaids) These are the first wall of defense, though not as effective as the other medications. Antacids neutralize the stomach acids and thereby eliminating the reflux. Though antacids effectiveness is short lived and there are complications with the ingredient calcium carbonate in some antacids. These drugs (Tums and Rolaids) prevent heartburn for a short time, but then the stomach digests the calcium and the stomach responds by secreting gastrin, an acid secreting hormone. This hormone then causes a rebound effect bringing back the acid that caused the heartburn in the first place. Thus, these calcium carbonate containing drugs are generally not recommended for frequent use.

2. Histamine antagonists-Cimetidine (tagamet)
It stops the production of acid by blocking the production of a chemical necessary for the production of stomach acid. These are effective for a longer period of time than antacids.

3. Proton pump inhibitors (Nexium among others)
They prevent the secreting of acids into the stomach, and because of this, the esophagus is able to take the time needed for healing, as it is not continually damaged by acids again and again.

4 Pro-motility drugs
They work by increasing the speed of the intestines and stomach during digestion in order to get the acid out of the stomach as fast as possible.

5 Foam barriers
They are pills that become an antacid covered foam barrier as they are digested by the acid. This barrier prevents any acids from leaving the stomach and the antacid coating neutralizes the stomach acids.

Each of these medications have there good points and their bad points. However, they all work in some way to reduce or eliminate the acids that cause heartburn. Antacids are good for the occasional attack of heartburn and the prescription drugs are more for the more frequent attacks of both daytime and nighttime heartburn. Should these drugs not work for the patient, then it is time for both doctor and patient to consider surgery to further heal and protect the esophagus.

Submitted by:

Tom Houser

T. HouserAcid Reflux Treatments




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