(ARA) - If you have ever avoided some of your favorite foods in order to reduce the pain of heartburn, you’re not alone. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. And an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from frequent heartburn -- heartburn occurring two or more days per week.
Heartburn occurs when acid-containing stomach contents back up and out of the stomach into the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat. The pain and discomfort of heartburn is very real, limiting daily activities and productivity for many. Although heartburn usually can be controlled with over-the-counter medicine, half of heartburn sufferers mistakenly believe it is impossible to live heartburn-free.
Now, frequent heartburn sufferers will have another treatment option following the Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of Prilosec OTC. Nicknamed the "purple pill," Prilosec has been prescribed by doctors for years to treat acid-related conditions in millions of people safely and effectively and will soon be available over-the-counter without a doctor’s prescription. It is part of a family of medicines known as acid (or proton) pump inhibitors which stops acid production at its source.
With this new heartburn treatment option soon hitting the market, heartburn sufferers may have some confusion over which treatment is right for them. Consumers with questions about heartburn and treatment options can seek answers at their local Wal-Mart pharmacy.
"Selecting the right heartburn medicine can be hard, but your pharmacist can help," said Lori Mendoza, registered pharmacist at Wal-Mart. "We can advise you how to best use an over-the-counter product to treat your symptoms, when to use it, and what other health conditions, drugs, diet, level of physical activity, and lifestyle concerns may affect its use."
Wal-Mart pharmacies provide the following answers to these frequently asked heartburn questions:
What is heartburn? Heartburn is a burning discomfort usually felt in the chest just behind the breastbone. Other symptoms can include a feeling that food or liquid is coming back into the mouth or throat, or an acid or bitter taste at the back of the throat.
What foods trigger heartburn? Eating foods such as citrus fruits, chocolate, peppermint, spearmint, tomatoes or tomato-based products, raw onions, garlic, black pepper, vinegar and fatty or spicy foods can set off heartburn.
How can I treat occasional heartburn? You can reduce your risk of getting heartburn by avoiding the trigger foods and behaviors that affect you most. The next line of defense is medications. A wide variety of medicines are available without prescription. Check with your pharmacist to see what’s right for you.
What classifies heartburn as frequent? Frequent heartburn occurs two or more days a week. It can be very painful, interfere with sleep, and impair productivity.
How do drugs like Prilosec OTC treat frequent heartburn? Prilosec OTC reduces the amount of heartburn-causing acid by shutting down active acid-producing pumps at the source, which is unlike other over-the-counter remedies. It is the first medicine of its kind available without a prescription.
How do I know which treatment is right? Check with your Wal-Mart pharmacist, who can help you determine which medicine is best for your heartburn symptoms. Several factors need to be considered when choosing an appropriate treatment, including other prescription and non-prescription medicines you are taking, health problems, the frequency and severity of heartburn episodes and other personal triggers.
Always read medicine labels thoroughly, follow the directions carefully and consult your pharmacist if you have questions. For more information about treatments for frequent heartburn, ask your Wal-Mart pharmacist or go to www.prilosecotc.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content