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News & Events What To Do When Heartburn Meds Stop Working

What To Do When Heartburn Meds Stop Working

Got GERD? Many of us do and we don’t realize it. You know, it’s that terrible tasting acid that comes back into your throat when you are trying to sleep. It’s not just a typical heartburn that you can relieve with an antacid. GERD is something that occurs several times a week and nothing you take seems to work. Let’s find out what to do when heartburn meds stop working.

Man sitting on the couch with heartburn.

Common Meds For Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Most adults with GERD take certain medications to help reduce the acid in their stomach. Some of those meds are over the counter and others are prescription. This is usually the first line of treatment for GERD.

Histamine Type 2 blockers can be found over the counter or your doctor may prescribe something with a higher dose. They also help to heal your esophagus, but they direct you to take them only when you have symptoms.

They include the following:

  • Pepcid AC and Mylanta (famotidine)
  • Tagamet (cimetidine)
  • Zantac 75 (Ranitidine)

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) are similar to type 2 blockers, but they usually work better. The main difference is you take them on a daily basis regardless of symptoms. They include Prilosec, Prevacid. Nexium, Protonix, and Aceplex.

Antibiotics can help you digest your food faster, therefore, there are less symptoms.

Prokinetics are similar but there can be side effects.

When These Medication Fail

When your symptoms are stronger than PPIs and Type 2 blockers can relieve, Dr. Shawn Stevenson may recommend other treatments. Endoscopic procedures and surgery may be the next step.

The goal of endoscopic procedures is to tighten the muscles between the stomach and the esophagus. A tiny tube is inserted into your mouth and down the esophagus. The muscle is tightened by stitches or heating a small area with radiofrequency energy.

Surgery for GERD is known as Fundoplication. It is a minimally invasive procedure and entails wrapping the top part of the stomach around the lower section of the esophagus. This helps to prevent food and acid from coming back into the esophagus.

Add In Lifestyle Changes

It is also beneficial to make some lifestyle changes to eliminate symptoms.

  • Lose weight
  • Avoid triggers like chocolate, alcohol, spicy foods, coffee, mint, and tomato based foods
  • Raise the head of your bed up or sleep on several pillows
  • Adequate exercise
  • No smoking

Contact Dr. Shawn Stevenson at (602) 582-5233 if you are experiencing frequent heartburn or GERD symptoms and medications are not providing relief.

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