Many medications are available for treating heartburn and GERD in adults. These include:
Antacids containing magnesium, calcium, aluminum, or some combination of these. For mild cases, they’re the medication of choice. Speak with your doctor before taking them, though, as some can interact with other medications. These include:
- Milk of Magnesia
Protein pump inhibitors inhibit the production of stomach acid. Leading brands include the over-the-counter medication Prilosec, as well as prescription drugs including Nexium, Prevacid, AcipHex, Protonix and Kapidex.
H2 Blockers interfere with histamines, a chemical that encourages stomach acid formation. There are four kinds:
- Zantac 75
- Zantac EFFERdose
- Zantac injection
- Zantac Syrup
- Axid AR
- Axid capsules
- Nizatidine capsules
Sucralfate (Carafate) protects the gastrointestinal tract’s mucus lining, helping ease symptoms in people with mild or moderate GERD.
Metoclopramide (Reglan) improves gastric emptying into the duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine.
Surgery. When other strategies fail, a surgical procedure called fundoplication may be considered—which tightens the muscle band in the lower esophagus. Other less invasive procedures are currently being tested.
Standard treatments for GERD in babies and children include:
- Antacids such as Zantac, Prilosec, and Prevacid
- Raglan – see above
- Rice cereal added to formula (if formula-feeding), if the child isn’t gaining weight due to frequent vomiting. If the baby is breastfeeding, a different supplement may be recommended.
- Formula switches, if the physician suspects the baby is allergic to the current formula being offered
- Tube feedings, if the baby has another condition in addition to reflux, such as prematurity or congenital heart disease