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Heartburn Medication

A Guide to the Best Medication for Heartburn

April 17, 2023

Heartburn is a very uncomfortable condition that can be caused by a number of factors. There are lifestyle changes and some medications available to help manage heartburn.

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Heartburn is a condition that occurs when stomach acid rises up the esophagus, causing a burning feeling in the middle of the chest or behind the breastbone accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and a feeling of tightness in the throat. Certain foods, lifestyle choices and medical conditions can trigger this condition. Fortunately, many treatments are available to help relieve heartburn symptoms so you can quickly get relief from the discomfort.

To make it easier for you to compare treatments, we’ve put together a guide to the best medication for heartburn below.

How You Can Ease Heartburn

Whether the heartburn is triggered due to a medical condition or just because you ate a big greasy meal, it is still an uncomfortable and painful sensation.

Lifestyle changes can reduce the chances of getting heartburn. These adjustments can include avoiding foods that trigger the condition, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, avoiding lying down after eating and quitting smoking. However, often it occurs without apparent cause and it may be a symptom of an undiagnosed illness. It’s best to talk to your doctor about your medication options.

The Most Common Heartburn Medication

There are many types of prescription medications to treat heartburn. But the most commonly prescribed by doctors can be classified into three categories:

  • Antacids
  • Histamine-2 (H2) blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)


Antacids are the most common type of heartburn medication. They work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach, which helps to reduce the burning sensation associated with the condition. Antacids come in over-the-counter and prescription forms and can be taken as tablets, liquids or chewables. Common antacids include:

Generic Name Examples of Brand Names
Alginic acid Gaviscon®
Bismuth subsalicylate Pepto-Bismol®
Calcium carbonate Alka-Seltzer®, Tums®
Magnesium hydroxide Milk of Magnesia®

An antacid is considered the best medication for heartburn. Each drug in this category has specific ways of being administered, so always check with your doctor about the ideal dosage and schedule. For most people, the best time to consume antacids is with or soon after meals and just before going to bed since these are the most common times people get heartburn. Antacids often don't have many side effects, but sometimes, they can cause the following:

  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Stomach cramps

Histamine-2 (H2) Blockers H2 blockers are another type of heartburn medication that works by blocking the production of stomach acid. This helps reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and can relieve heartburn symptoms. H2 blockers come in over-the-counter and prescription forms and can be taken as tablets or liquids. The most commonly prescribed H2 blockers include:

Generic Name Examples of Brand Names
Cimetidine Tagamet®
Famotidine Pepcid®
Nizatidine Axid AR®

H2 blockers are often taken orally with the day's first meal or before the evening meal. They can be bought at lower doses without a prescription. But if a patient experiences acid reflux symptoms for longer than two weeks, they are often prescribed a higher dosage for the medicine to take effect. Remember to take all medication as your healthcare provider told you to, and don't stop your regimen without talking to your doctor first.

Just like antacids, H2 blockers don't usually have a lot of side effects, but in rare cases, patients may experience the following:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are a type of heartburn medication that works by blocking the action of an enzyme in the stomach that produces acid. This helps reduce the amount of acid in your stomach and can relieve heartburn symptoms. PPIs come in over-the-counter and prescription forms and can be taken as tablets or liquids. Common PPIs include:

Generic Name Examples of Brand Names
Lansoprazole Prevacid®
Dexlansoprazole Dexilant®
Esomeprazole Nexium®
Rabeprazole Aciphex®
Omeprazole Prilosec®
Pantoprazole Protonix®

PPIs are taken orally 30 minutes before the first meal of the day. Talk to your healthcare provider about the dosage and how long you must take these medicines to ensure maximum effectiveness and reduce possible side effects.

Many consider PPI the best medication for heartburn since side effects are rare. But if you are taking other drugs, like anti-seizure medications, PPIs can change how they work, so make sure to inform your doctor about any prescriptions you are currently on.

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How To Get Discounts on the Best Medication for Heartburn

Taking medication as prescribed by a doctor can help reduce the frequency and severity of heartburn and help prevent further complications. The excellent news is that heartburn medication is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased anywhere. Plus, you can save more if you use discount cards from Inside Rx.

Inside Rx partners with some of the most notable names in the pharmaceutical industry so that you can get up to 80 percent savings on your brand and generic prescriptions. We have nearly 60,000 pharmacy partners in the United States and Puerto Rico, and our cards have been enjoyed by millions of patients across the nation.

Have your Inside Rx discount card ready the next time you fill your prescriptions, and download one today!