Acid reflux medications are available, over-the-counter or by prescription. Drugs can be effective to stop acid reflux and heartburn. But, before you start taking dozens of pills, you need to realize one thing...
... pills don't cure !
So if you have acid reflux, you only have two options:
If acid reflux remedies and an acid reflux diet don't stop your heartburn, you need to use your last choice of treatment; acid reflux medications
Persistent heartburn leads to reflux esophagitis and constant esophagitis leads to Barretts esophagus. Severe acid reflux should never be left untreated. People with Barretts syndrome have an increased chance for developing esophageal cancer.
That being said, you also need to know that acid reflux drugs are not without risk. Evidence of adverse effects is piling up.
Proton pumps literally pump acid into your stomach. The more protons are pumped, the higher the level of acidity inside your stomach. Specific medications to stop these proton pumps are called proton pump inhibitors.
Proton pumps start pumping and make your stomach content more and more acidic.
At this point, your stomach is already full of acid. H2-receptor-blockers (Zantac) or proton pump inhibitors (Nexiam, Ranitidine) can't help you anymore. You need to take them before meals. The only helpful medication after meals are antacids (Maalox) or raft forming agents (Gaviscon). They neutralize an acidic stomach content.
As you can see, different acid reflux medications provide a solution in their own way. Some of them block the production of stomach acid, others neutralize the acid after it has been formed. Discover which medication is the best for you in the section types of medication .
Look at your lifestyle before you start taking pills. Change your diet and try simple acid reflux remedies . If that doesn't prove to be succesfull, you can treat yourself with the available over-the-counter medicines. If you are someone who doesn't like to take many pills, but you need a quick solution, use baking soda.
People with severe heartburn, that lasts for longer than two weeks, should go and see a doctor. He needs to confirm your diagnose of acid reflux with a gastroscopy and exclude other conditions that might present themselves as heartburn. Chest pain, for example, can be caused by your stomach, but can also be an indicator of serious a heart problem.