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How to Relieve Heartburn without Prescription?

Only really serious and threatening health disorders are capable to make the majority of people visit a doctor in the hospital or call for emergency help. That is my firm conviction and I believe that many people share the same opinion.

Modern people face multiple health problems, such as headache, flu, sore throat, tooth ache and others so often, that they consider many of them as common in everyday life as traffic jams in the city center.

We got used to buy OTC medications (those that are sold without any prescription in any pharmacy) on the same regular basis as we buy our weekly product supply. But wait a second. Are we so well educated in medicine to diagnose ourselves and choose the right medication? Or is a TV commercial enough to make a decision for the usage of advertised drug for particular condition?

Well, I do not want to persuade anyone to call 911 in every case when he feels headache or upset stomach. I just want to remind that even OTC drugs are still medications. So, your own body will be thankful to you if you at least learn the basics of a certain medical condition and the possible treatment options before buying a pill, currently advertised on TV.

Below is short, but I believe, rather valuable information about the available OTC drugs to treat heartburn, one of the conditions that spoil comfortable living of millions people.

So, there are actually two classes of medications, used to relieve heartburn – antacids and acid reducers. Choosing the right option depends on how severe the heartburn is in every particular case.

Antacid medication is the best choice for those people, who experience mild and infrequent heartburn symptoms (less than once or twice a week). Antacids, e.g. Tums, Maalox, Mylanta or Rolaids, work very quickly and effectively. They neutralize stomach acid that was refluxed into esophagus, causing the heartburn sensation.

But what if heartburn symptoms spoil one’s life on more regular basis and with the accuracy and persistency that is usually peculiar to a tax inspector? In such cases, one should not panic and keep in mind that every poison has its antidote.

If heartburn occurs more than twice a week on a regular basis, it is considered to be a medical disease, called gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can potentially lead to inflammation of the esophagus or even to ulcers in stomach.

To treat frequent heartburn symptoms, acid reducers are used. These medications reduce the total amount of acid, produced by stomach, thus preventing it to irritate esophagus.

H2 receptor blockers (e.g. Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantag) suppress the signal in stomach that stimulates acid production, so that its amount decreases. These medications do not work so quickly as antacids, but they eliminate the reason for heartburn, thus ensuring longer relief.

H2 blockers are recommended to take prior to eating meals, containing known heartburn triggers (citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods etc). Infrequent side effects of these medications are dry mouth, dizziness or drowsiness.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) belong to the brand new group of medications, used nowadays to treat GERD. In fact, PPIs are prescription medications, excluding Prilosec, which is available in OTC dose since 2003.

Prilosec as any other PPI decreases significantly the amount of acid, produced by stomach. It is known that stomach lining contains many small cells, called proton pumps, which produce acid, necessary for food digestion. When these pumps work too diligently, the stomach becomes a too small place for acid and it flows back into esophagus, irritating it and causing many unpleasant sensations.

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One Prilosec pill turns off many of the active pumps and ensures the decreased amount of acid for as long as 24 hours. This helps not only relief heartburn, but also heal the damaged or inflamed esophagus.

Prilosec is not an emergency pill to relieve occasional heartburn, but taking Prilosec for 14 days, according to labeling instructions, may significantly improve the health of those people, who suffer from frequent and regular heartburn symptoms.

Now, when you probably watched some TV commercials and obviously read this article, you are ready to go to the nearest pharmacy and prepare for the next visit of heartburn.

Nick


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