What’s the best heartburn medicine?
Treatments for heartburn used to require a prescription, but the Food and Drug Administration has approved many popular brands for over-the-counter availability. There are many to consider amid a backdrop of medical terms that can be confusing. But once you understand the basics, relief is not far away.
With a stellar reputation for reducing heartburn, the best heartburn medicine is Amazon Basic Care Lansoprazole Delayed-Release Capsules.
What to know before you buy heartburn medicine
What is heartburn, acid reflux and GERD?
Heartburn is a group of symptoms experienced when stomach acid and bile push past the esophageal sphincter and enter the esophagus, a condition known medically as acid reflux. The symptoms include mild chest pain or a burning sensation in the chest, neck or throat.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, nearly everyone will experience these uncomfortable symptoms at some time, most likely due to overeating. But nearly one in five people experience heartburn several days or more per week. This chronic condition is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD.
What are the types of heartburn medicine?
There are three categories of heartburn medicine.
- Acid neutralizers use an alkaline ingredient, usually with a carbonate base, to lower pH and reduce the effect of stomach acid on the esophagus. They work immediately but do not provide long-term relief.
- Histamine 2 receptor antagonists are also called histamine blockers. They prevent the stomach from producing more acid, which creates a less acidic environment for the esophagus and lessens symptoms associated with heartburn, acid reflux and GERD.
- Proton pump inhibitors permanently shut down the stomach’s acid production, reducing painful symptoms. They take longer to work and are not recommended for more than two weeks without your health care provider’s supervision.
Why is acid reflux a serious health concern?
When a person develops GERD, it leads to chronic inflammation of the esophagus. If left untreated over the long term, it can narrow the esophagus and increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
What to look for in heartburn medicine
Acid neutralizers work immediately but do not offer long-term effectiveness. Histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors take hours or days to work, but last longer and provide more comprehensive acid reduction.
Heartburn medicines come in three basic forms.
- Pills and capsules are most common, although if someone has narrowing of the esophagus, they could be difficult to swallow.
- Liquid antacids are popular because they coat the esophagus as they reach the stomach. This provides extra short-term relief.
- Effervescent tablets dissolve in water and immediately interact with stomach acid without having to enter the bloodstream.
Liquid and effervescent tablets come in mint and fruit-based flavors. This is designed to help with swallowing the medicine, although some consumers find the flavors unpleasant and artificial-tasting.
How much you can expect to spend on heartburn medicine
- Inexpensive heartburn medicine is priced under $5. These are predominantly carbonate-based antacid tablets that offer short-term relief. Some travel-size packets of proton pump inhibitors and histamine blockers are also in this price range.
- Medium-priced heartburn medicine is priced between $5-$15. Premium brand antacids and generic versions of popular proton pump inhibitors and histamine blockers are included in this range.
- Expensive heartburn medicine is priced over $15. Most proton pump inhibitors and premium histamine blockers are in this range.
Heartburn medicine FAQ
What are the side effects of heartburn medicine?
A. The National Institutes of Health have published a complete list of potential side effects from heartburn medicine, most notably proton pump inhibitors. If used for an extended period of time, antacid medication can cause diarrhea or constipation. Proton pump inhibitors and histamine blockers may interfere with the effectiveness of some vitamins and minerals, including calcium, which can negatively affect bone density.
Your health care provider can provide additional considerations based on your health history.
What are natural ways to prevent heartburn?
A. Lifestyle changes can help prevent heartburn. Losing weight, exercising and eating healthier food in smaller portions can make a difference. Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking also are positive steps forward.
Can GERD cause other medical issues besides heartburn?
A. The NIH has identified GERD as a potential contributor to chronic cough, asthma and ear, nose and throat problems.
What is the best heartburn medicine to buy?
Top heartburn medicine
Amazon Basic Care Lansoprazole Delayed-Release Capsules
What you need to know: This affordable proton pump inhibitor has an excellent reputation for effectively reducing heartburn.
What you’ll love: Each capsule includes 15 milligrams of lansoprazole to inhibit acid production in the stomach lining. The capsules are delayed-release and provide up to 24 hours of relief. They are easy to swallow and manufactured in the United States.
What you should consider: They may take several days to work and should not be taken for more than 14 days.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top heartburn medicine for the money
Alka-Seltzer Effervescent Gold
What you need to know: From one of the most trusted brands, these effervescent tablets work quickly to relieve heartburn and upset stomach.
What you’ll love: Designed to provide fast relief, these tablets include a triple antacid combination of anhydrous citric acid, sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate to neutralize stomach acid. They are affordable and effective.
What you should consider: Some users found the lemon taste unpleasant.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know. Featuring a soothing mint flavor, these chewable tablets provide fast relief for heartburn, bloating and gas.
What you’ll love: The special formula includes two antacids and an anti-gas ingredient. It can be used for nighttime relief and prevents acid rebound between doses of other heartburn medications.
What you should consider: Sucralose, a sugar substitute, is an inactive ingredient.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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