Medical Treatment for Acid Reflux Disease
Stop heartburn and control acid reflux with medications for GERD.
For many patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, medications and lifestyle changes can make a big difference. When a patient first seeks treatment for chronic heartburn, dietary and lifestyle changes are often the initial recommendation. When these changes are not enough, there are a number of medications that are effective at controlling gastric reflux and preventing heartburn.
Conservative therapy for GERD
Physician supervised lifestyle and diet changes are an important component to acid reflux treatment. With Dr. Bagnato’s support, this initial phase of medical treatment can help you to control your heartburn, understand your reflux triggers and correct any other habits that may be contributing to your heartburn.
Gradually eliminating certain foods from your diet is one of the most reliable ways to determine the triggers that are causing acid reflux. Other dietary changes that may be recommended include reducing meal size and avoiding alcohol consumption. If you are experiencing regular acid reflux, then Dr. Bagnato will discuss the dietary changes that are in your best interest.
In addition to changing how you eat, there are a number of habits that may be contributing to your acid reflux that are important to alter as you seek treatment. Being sedentary, wearing clothes that are too tight or sleeping directly after a meal are all factors that could influence your likelihood of experiencing heartburn. Other important changes including smoking cessation and weight loss; your physician will determine how many of these changes are appropriate for you to make.
Medications for GERD
Medicinal treatment for acid reflux is available both over-the-counter and via prescription. Though medications are available without a prescription, it is best to confirm with your physician before beginning to medicate for particular symptoms.
Medications for GERD are not intended to correct the cause of the acid reflux. Instead, they reduce symptoms by alleviating pressure and decreasing the production of acid in the stomach, as well as protecting the lining of the esophagus from erosion as a result of the acidic backflow.
It is important to understand that GERD is a progressive disease, meaning that symptoms may gradually worsen overtime. While one dosage of medication may work for an extended period of time, chances are that medicinal needs will change as the disease progresses.
Common medications for GERD include:
- Antacids: Many antacids are available over-the-counter. This type of medication helps to neutralize stomach acids, and is generally taken to relieve heartburn and acid reflux after the pain is present.
- H-2 receptor blockers: These types of medications reduce acid-production in the stomach, and are available both over-the-counter and through a prescription.
- Proton pump inhibitors: Unlike other types of over-the-counter medications, proton pump inhibitors or PPIs help to heal the esophagus by blocking acid production, allowing time for the esophageal tissue to repair itself.
- Prokinetic agents: Only available through a prescription, this type of medication helps to alleviate acid reflux and heartburn by speeding the rate at which the stomach contents empty while also tightening the valve between the stomach and the esophagus through which stomach acid escapes.
If you are taking over-the-counter medication for heartburn or acid reflux more than twice a week, then you should meet with your doctor to discuss your condition.
For more information about medical treatment of GERD, please contact us to schedule an appointment.