Q:

What are over-the-counter medications individuals can use to treat acid reflux?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, over-the-counter antacids, histamine-2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors are used to treat the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, notes WebMD. If OTC medications fail to alleviate GERD symptoms, an evaluation by a doctor is recommended.

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Full Answer

Antacids are a first-line medication in the treatment of acid reflux disease, notes WebMD. Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach and relieving sour stomach, stomach upset, acid indigestion and heartburn. Some common brands as of 2015 include Alka-Seltzer, Pepto-Bismol, Milk of Magnesia and Gaviscon.

Acid reducers, including histamine-2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors, reduce the amount of acid that the stomach produces, notes WebMD. This alleviates GERD symptoms. H2 blockers available over the counter include Zantac, Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC and Axid AR, as of 2015. Proton pump inhibitors available without a prescription include Zegerid OTC, Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC and Prevacid 24HR. Pepcid Complete combines the benefits of an acid reducer with an antacid.

Prescription-strength medication may be required when over-the-counter GERD medications are not effective, explains WebMD. While OTC medications work on many simple cases of GERD, cases of severe GERD should be evaluated by a medical professional who can prescribe a promotility agent, such as Reglan. This medication stimulates the muscles located in the gastrointestinal tract to reduce the amount of time acid stays in the stomach.

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