Health Watch — Heartburn: Medication

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about heartburn. Eating high-fat foods such as burgers and hot dogs is likely to give you heartburn. Other than giving up those foods, is there something you can do to avoid heartburn?

One kind of medication used to treat heartburn is antacids. You can buy these over the counter. They work by soaking up excess stomach acid, but they don’t do anything to stop the stomach from producing more acid. Dr. Stuart Spechler, a digestive diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says that most people who don’t get heartburn very often may benefit from histamine receptor blockers that are also available over the counter. You take them half an hour before a meal, and they slow acid production. There’s another kind of drug, called proton-pump inhibitors, that stops the stomach from producing acid. This drug may take days to work and is best for people with chronic heartburn. 


June 2007

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