Heartburn Health (cont.)

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Heartburn Medical Treatment

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The health care professional will recommend treating heartburn in a gradual progression.

Over-the-counter antacids are the oldest effective self-treatments for heartburn. Through the centuries, people have chewed on chalk (the active ingredient is calcium carbonate) to ease heartburn. Tablets are less powerful in neutralizing stomach acid than liquid antacids.

  • Antacids are useful because they provide rapid, but temporary relief of heartburn, especially if it is caused by foods or certain activity. Over-the-counter (OTC) antacids do not prevent heartburn from returning or allow a patient's injured esophagus to heal. If the patient need antacids for more than two weeks, talk to a your health care professional to have your condition reviewed and receive appropriate treatment.
  • Most varieties of antacids you can buy in drug stores are combinations of aluminum and magnesium hydroxide. Antacids containing these ingredients may produce unwanted diarrhea or constipation. Discuss these medications with your doctor before use if you have any history of kidney (renal) disease.
  • Antacids containing calcium carbonate are the most potent in neutralizing stomach acid. Popular brands are Tums and Titralac.

Follow label instructions and do not take more than the recommended daily dose. Most commonly, patients take antacids after meals and at bedtime, or when they have symptoms.

Always tell a health care professional about your antacid use.

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