What are some treatments for GERD?


Quick Answer

Doctors generally advise patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, to start their treatments with over-the-counter medications that help control acid, notes Mayo Clinic. If these treatments are not effective, doctors may recommend prescription medications or surgery.

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Full Answer

Frequent acid reflux from the stomach to the esophagus due to weaknesses in the esophageal sphincter that normally blocks this acid leads to GERD, states Mayo Clinic. Antacids such as Maalox, Rolaids, Mylanta and Tums may temporarily relieve the symptoms of GERD, but they cannot heal the inflammation of the esophagus caused by the stomach acid. Over-the-counter H-2 receptor blockers in brands such as Tagemet HB, Pepcid AC and Zantac can slow the production of stomach acid and provide longer-term relief. Proton pump inhibitors such as Prevasid or Prilosec are better acid blockers that give the esophagus time to heal.

If over-the-counter treatments are ineffective, doctors may prescribe stronger versions of H-2 receptor blockers or proton pump inhibitors, according to Mayo Clinic. They may also prescribe Baclofen, a medication that can reduce gastroesophageal reflux by decreasing the number of times the esophageal sphincter relaxes. Doctors may perform surgery to reinforce or strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter if other treatments are ineffective or if patients don't want to take medications for long periods.

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