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What's the Best Heartburn Treatment For You?

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Updated June 14, 2014

Man dropping antacid into a glass of water
Steven Errico/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Is the confusion over what heartburn remedy is the best bad enough to give you heartburn? If so, you're not alone.

There are several over-the-counter remedies for heartburn on the market, but not nearly enough information to go along with them to help you make a wise choice. While the makers of the different heartburn remedies produce plenty of ads for their products, those ads don't tell consumers what product is best for them.

While searching for a remedy for your heartburn, you should keep the following in mind: There are three different types of remedies. Two prevent heartburn, and one treats heartburn once you have it.

Preventing heartburn.

The first type of remedy that's designed to prevent heartburn from occurring is the H2 blocker. This includes over-the-counter products such as Axid, Pepcid AC, and Zantac 75. You need to take these before the heartburn occurs, such as before a meal you are sure will cause heartburn.

The second type of remedy that's designed to prevent heartburn from occurring is the proton pump inhibitor. This includes products such as Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium. Prilosec is available over-the-counter as Prilosec OTC. Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective in preventing heartburn. They prevent the release of acid in the stomach and intestines.

Treating heartburn after it has begun.

An antacid is used to treat heartburn after it's begun. Tums and Mylanta, are examples of antacids.

Is there a remedy that does both?

Pepcid Complete is both an antacid and an H2 blocker. It may be a good option if you have heartburn that keeps coming back after an antacid wears off, or if your heartburn lasts a long time.

Before you select a remedy...

Occasional mild heartburn can often be relieved by making lifestyle changes and, when necessary, taking antacids or acid reducers. However, if your heartburn persists or becomes worse, you should contact your doctor. Knowing when to call your doctor is very important.

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Updated: 02/14/2006

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