Antacids; proton pump inhibitors, including omeprazole and lansoprazole; and H-2-receptor antagonists, or H2RAs, can be used to treat heartburn, according to Mayo Clinic. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding certain foods or maintaining a healthy weight, may also reduce the symptoms of heartburn.
Antacids alleviate heartburn by neutralizing the acid in the stomach. These drugs relieve pain but cannot cure a damaged esophagus, explains Mayo clinic. Pepto-Bismol coats the esophagus and prevents the reflux of acid, notes WebMD. Patients should not worry about the black color of the tongue or stool that results from the use of this medicine. Other antacids include Tums, Mylanta, Maalox and Gaviscon.
H-2-receptor antagonists are acid reducers, which, unlike antacids, take long to relieve the symptoms of heartburn but offer a long-lasting relief. Examples of H2RA include Pepcid AC, Zantac 75 and Axid AR, states WebMD. A patient who uses any of these medicines for more than two weeks but doesn't get better should consult a doctor.
Avoiding late meals, waiting for at least three hours after a meal before going to sleep and raising the head while sleeping may potentially reduce heartburn, according to Mayo Clinic. Tight-fitting clothing, which presses against the abdomen and lower esophageal sphincter, and smoking may worsen the problem. Patients should maintain a healthy weight and avoid foods that stimulate heartburn.