Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Heartburn Medications
I have occasional heartburn and have taken over-the-counter medicines in the past on an intermittent basis. Recently my doctor told me that I have esophagitis (inflammed esophagus) due to GERD and has prescribed 8 weeks of therapy. Isn't this too long?
Occasional use of drugs may be appropriate in treating symptoms of heartburn. However, it usually takes several weeks of therapy to heal esophagitis. Taking less than 8 weeks may lead to incomplete healing of your esophagus. Longer durations of therapy may be required for some patients.
I'm confused by all of the advertisements for medicines like Axid, Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac. How do I know which one to choose?
These drugs are all classified as Histamine-2 (H-2) receptor antagonists or blockers. Histamine increases stomach acid secretion by binding to and stimulating H-2 receptors. Blocking H-2 receptors with these decreases stomach acid. Although these drugs share some common features, they do have differences. For example, some work faster while others last longer. You may be able to choose a product by matching your symptoms to the drugs recommended use.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nexium
How much Nexium should I take?
Your doctor will determine your dose based on the reason for the prescription. Typically, to treat or prevent GERD, you will take 20 to 40 mg once daily for four to eight weeks. For ulcers, your doctor will probably prescribe 20 mg twice daily in conjunction with other medicine. Even if your symptoms disappear, continue to take the medicine for the prescribed time for the most benefit.
How should I take Nexium?
Nexium should be taken with a full glass of water, an hour before eating. It should be taken at the same time each day. Swallow the pill whole; do not crush or chew it. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible; if it is close to the next dose, skip the first and take the next at the regular time.
Will I get heartburn during the weeks I'm taking Nexium?
Nexium may not prevent all attacks of heartburn. It you suffer acute attacks it is safe to take antacids (such as Tums.) Additionally, if you suffer heartburn you should also modify your diet to avoid food and drink that triggers heartburn symptoms.
Frequently asked Questions about Prevacid
What if I still get heartburn?
It is safe to take antacids for acute attacks of heartburn while you are taking Prevacid.
Is Prevacid used for any other conditions?
Prevacid can be used to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers. Prevacid also comes in different forms to treat these conditions. Prevpac combines the medicine in Prevacid with an antibiotic to eliminate H. pylori bacteria, the cause of most duodenal ulcers. Prevacid NapraPAC is a combination of Prevacid and an arthritis medication. Taking painkillers, including aspirin and naproxen, as well as arthritis medications, may cause stomach ulcers. Prevacid Naprapac reduces the risk of stomach ulcers forming or returning.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tums
Is it safe to use Tums in addition to other heartburn medicines?
If you are using another medicine for GERD, check with your doctor or the prescription label before taking Tums. However, it is safe to use Tums for acute heartburn attacks in conjunction with most proton pump inhibitors. In addition, you should talk to your doctor about other medicines you are taking, including antibiotics, before taking Tums.
Why all the information about calcium?
The active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate, an easily digested, non-dairy form of calcium. Because of this, many people use Tums as a calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis, a condition common among post-menopausal women
Frequently asked questions about Zantac
Does Zantac interact negatively with other drugs?
It is safe to take most over-the-counter painkillers and antacids
while taking Zantac. However, you should wait at least one hour
after taking Zantac before taking an antacid, as antacids can decrease
the effectiveness of Zantac. If you are taking Halcion or a blood
thinner such as Coumadin, you may not be able to take Zantac. To
be safe, please talk with your doctor about any medications, vitamins,
and supplements you use before taking Zantac.
Certain medications are absorbed in an acidic environment. These
medicines should not be used with Zantac
Drinking alcohol while on Zantac can significantly increase your
blood alcohol level and impair your driving ability.
What else should I know about H2 blockers?
H2 blockers have been prescribed for decades to treat heartburn
and other conditions. However, they are less effective than proton
pump inhibitors in treating GERD, especially severe cases. Talk
with your doctor about the best treatment for your frequent heartburn.
Frequently asked Questions about Tagament
How much Tagamet should I take?
In over the counter strength, Tagamet is generally provided in 200
mg tablets to prevent heartburn. One tablet is taken at a time,
either as a preventative measure or to alleviate acid indigestion.
No more than 2 tablets (400 mg total) should be taken in one day
to treat heartburn. Unless ordered by a doctor, Tagamet HB should
not be taken longer than two weeks.
In some cases, a doctor may proscribe a higher or more frequent
dose of Tagamet to address other conditions in which the stomach
produces too much acid. Such programs often involve 300 or 400 mg
doses, for periods of 4, 8 or more weeks.
How should I take Tagamet?
Tagamet HB should be taken with a full glass of water, either before
eating (to prevent heartburn) or as soon as symptoms result (to
treat heartburn). Patients taking Tagamet Rx are usually advised
to take it in the morning if only one dose, in the morning and at
bedtime for two doses, or at meals and at bedtime for multiple doses.
Will I get heartburn during the weeks I'm taking Tagamet?
Variability among individuals means that Tagamet may not be effective for everyone. If Tagamet (HB or Rx) is not effective, a doctor should be consulted.
Frequently Asked Questions about Prilosec
How much Prilosec should I take?
Prilosec Rx programs may vary in dose strength and frequency depending on the type and severity of condition. Such prescriptions often involve 40 or 60 mg tablets for periods of four to eight weeks, or longer, as prescribed by your doctor.
Prilosec OTC is administered in 20 mg tablets that should be taken once a day, for a period of 14 days. If conditions persist, a doctor should be consulted.
How should I take Prilosec?
Prilosec capsules should be taken before a meal, preferably in the morning. Prilosec tablets may be taken with food or on an empty stomach.
Will I get heartburn during the weeks I'm taking Prilosec?
As a delayed-action medication, it may take time for the full effects of Prilosec to occur. Therefore, some patients may still experience symptoms of heartburn during the first day or two of treatment. During this period, antacids may be taken to treat acid indigestion. Additionally, variability between individuals may dictate the effectiveness of Prilosec.