When it comes to treating heartburn, the first treatment option your doctor will most likely discuss with you is a "no medication" approach. This will usually involve lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. Other people have opted for home remedies to treat their heartburn.

If these methods either don't work or aren't effective enough, however, you can discuss with your doctor the various types of medications you can use.

The available medications, discussed in further detail below, include antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.

What type of medication you use will depend in part on how severe your symptoms are. While more and more of these medications are available over-the-counter (OTC), you should always discuss their use with your doctor before you start taking them. While side effect are not common, and the ones that do occur will often disappear on their own, it is important that you are aware of them and discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of any new medication.

You have probably seen the commercials on television that show the effectiveness of antacids. And it is true that when used properly, antacids are useful in relieving occasional heartburn and indigestion. The active ingredient in antacids neutralizes stomach acid, which is what is causing the pain.

Again, if you do take an antacid, it should be used only for occasional relief of mild heartburn or indigestion. If you're taking antacids for longer than two weeks, then the heartburn may be caused by a more serious medical problem. It is important that you consult your doctor for a further evaluation. You should see your doctor even sooner if you're experiencing any symptoms severe enough to interfere with your lifestyle.

Side effects from the use of antacids are very rare when this medication is taken as directed. Side effects are more likely to occur if antacids are taken for longer than recommended, or a higher dosage is taken. However, because side effects may occur, it's important to know what they are and when you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention unless they continue or become bothersome are:

Stomach gas
Side effects that you should report to your doctor immediately are:

A skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue (indicates an allergic reaction)
Nausea or vomiting
Unexplained weakness or tiredness
Types of antacids:


If you’re taking drugs to relieve heartburn or acid reflux, chances are you’re shortchanging your body of zinc and iron. You need zinc in abundance for its power to help your body recover from wounds and injury and fight off infectious diseases. It’s also one of the keys to prostate health, virility, and sexual performance. In fact, for men, the prostate gland is where most of the body’s zinc is concentrated. Acid blockers’ also effect iron levels — particularly in women. We all need iron to enable our blood to deliver oxygen to every cell in our bodies. Without enough of it, a host of problems set in, including anemia, fatigue, and greater vulnerability to illness.
Reduce your stress and intake of acid foods and increase the consumption of alkaline foods to avoid acid re-flux and heart burn. Taking apple cider vinegar has been effective in reducing acid re-flux.
Avoiding sugar, caffeine, dairy and processed foods has been a very effective strategy to reduce acidic condition. Taking alkaline water is also recommended.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. George Grant, Ph.D., I.M.D. Specialist in Nutrition, Stress, and Biofeedback. www.academyofwellness.com