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Treatment of acid reflux mainly relies on lifestyle changes that prevent attacks. Acid reflux is one of the commonest digestive disorders affecting millions of people worldwide at some point in their lives.
Some of the lifestyle changes that can relieve and prevent attacks of heartburn and acid reflux include:-
For patients who do not respond to these measures diagnostic methods to evaluate the extent of esophagitis or esophageal damage and gastroesophageal reflux should be employed. Medication may be required in these patients.
Medications help in neutralizing the gastric acid or by reducing the acid production. There are another group of agents called prokinetics that increase the motility of the gastrointestinal system and thus allow food to be transmitted through the esophagus and gut faster.
Drugs used in acid reflux include:-
These agents are available over the counter. They work by neutralizing the gastric acid and relieve the symptoms of heart burn and acid reflux. These drugs, however, cannot be taken along with other medications that reduce acid reflux and there may be significant interactions leaving these agents ineffective.
These agents are also available over the counter without prescription. These agents work by producing a protective coating that shields the lining of the stomach and esophagus. This protects the vulnerable linings of mucosa from the acid.
These are prescription medications like Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Rabeprozole and Lansoprazole. These work by reducing the acid produced by the stomach. Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disorder may require PPIs for a long duration.
These include Ranitidine, Cimetidine and Famotidine. These agents block the effects of the chemical histamine that helps produce stomach acid. Thus these agents reduce the acid production.
These include Bethanechol and Metoclopramide. These agents hasten movement of food via stomach to the intestines and reduce the risk of reflux.