How to Reduce Your Heartburn Symptoms with Over-The-Counter (OTC) Heartburn Medications
When you’re looking for quick heartburn relief, there are a few different options available at your local pharmacy. These medications work in different ways to affect your stomach acid. While some acid is necessary for digestion, too much can lead to problems like heartburn1.
OTC Heartburn Medication
There are three main types of heartburn medications that you can get without a prescription2:
- Antacids provide fast heartburn relief. They start to work in seconds* to neutralize stomach acid, making your stomach contents less acidic and reducing the chances that acidic liquid will leak into your esophagus (the muscular tube that connects your mouth and stomach). Antacids contain ingredients like calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium trisilicate, aluminum hydroxide, and alginate. Depending on the type of antacid, you may take these medications as a chewable tablet or drink them as a liquid3.
- H2 blockers start to work in minutes** and prevent cells in the stomach from producing high levels of stomach acid. H2 blockers go by the generic names famotidine, cimetidine, and nizatidine. They may come in tablet, capsule, or liquid form4.
- Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) halt almost all production of stomach acid. However, they are not intended for immediate relief - it can take up to 1-4 days for these medications to start producing their full effects. Over-the-counter PPIs include omeprazole, lansoprazole, and esomeprazole. These capsules or tablets are taken by mouth 30 minutes before breakfast5.
* Starts to neutralize acid on contact
** Starts to relieve heartburn in 15-30 minutes
PEPCID COMPLETE® contains both an antacid (calcium carbonate) and an H2 blocker (famotidine). These ingredients work together to help stop heartburn on multiple levels. 1 tablet starts working in seconds and lasts all day***.
***Based on 8-hour symptom relief studies during the day.
Before starting a new medication, it is best to talk to your doctor to see which medication is right for you.
How Can You Prevent Heartburn?
Sometimes, you can stop heartburn before it even starts. Medications, diet alterations, and lifestyle changes can all help get ahead of acid reflux fast.
If you’re getting ready to eat a meal and are worried about heartburn, take Maximum Strength PEPCID AC®. This H2 blocker prevents heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach brought on by eating or drinking certain foods or beverages. Just take one tablet with water 10 to 60 minutes before eating. Maximum Strength PEPCID AC® starts working within 15 to 30 minutes to stop heartburn fast.
Making changes to your diet can help prevent heartburn.
Avoiding these foods helps to prevent acid reflux and future heartburn6:
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Spicy foods
- High-fat foods
- Carbonated drinks
For an even bigger impact, change how and when you eat. Eating dinner earlier in the evening makes heartburn less likely. Aim to avoid eating anything for at least three hours before you go to bed7.
Eating too much can also result in heartburn. Rather than eating three large meals, consume several small portions throughout the day. Additionally, take your time while eating. Chew slowly, pay attention to what you’re eating, and stop once you feel full6.
Home Remedies and Tips
Certain home remedies can also help you prevent heartburn symptoms. You may want to try2:
- Wearing loose-fitting clothing
- Chewing gum
- Elevating your head and chest when lying down
- Trying relaxation exercises like meditation, guided relaxation, or deep breathing
- Getting more physical activity
- Reaching and staying at a healthy weight
- Quitting smoking
Although diet changes and home remedies can go a long way in avoiding heartburn, it’s not always enough. Try PEPCID® – the #1 doctor-recommended, over the counter, acid reducer brand. PEPCID® products start working in minutes and can ease symptoms day or night.
- 1How Does the Stomach Work? InformedHealth.org. Updated August 21, 2016. Accessed October 17, 2022.
- 2Heartburn. MedlinePlus. Reviewed January 14, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2022.
- 3Antacid. Cleveland Clinic. Reviewed May 20, 2022. Accessed November 22, 2022.
- 4H2 Blockers. MedlinePlus. Reviewed April 22, 2021. Accessed November 22, 2022.
- 5Proton Pump Inhibitors. MedlinePlus. Reviewed April 22, 2021. Accessed November 22, 2022.
- 6 Newberry C, Lynch K. The role of diet in the development and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease: why we feel the burn. J Thorac Dis. 2019;11(Suppl 12):S1594-S1601.
- 7 Badillo R, Francis D. Diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. World J Gastrointest Pharmacol Ther. 2014;5(3):105-112.