Medications for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The medicines below are used to treat GERD. Only the most basic problems are listed. Ask your doctor if there are any other steps you need to take. Use each of them as your doctor tells you. If you have any questions or can’t follow the package instructions, call your doctor.

Your doctor may have you take more than one type. This is because they work in different ways.

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Dexlansoprazole

H2 Blockers

  • Cimetidine
  • Famotidine
  • Nizatidine
  • Ranitidine

Antacids

  • Alka Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums
  • Rolaids
  • Mylanta

Prokinetics

  • Bethanechol
  • Metoclopramide

Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)

Common brand names:

  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Dexlansoprazole

PPIs block the stomach from making acid. They also heal the esophageal lining and protect it from stomach acid.

Side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Belly pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Increased risk of broken bones in older adults—mainly if taken in high doses for longer than a year

H2 Blockers

Common brand names:

  • Cimetidine
  • Famotidine
  • Nizatidine
  • Ranitidine

H2 blockers lower the amount of acid released by the stomach. They also heal the esophageal lining and protect it from stomach acid.

Side effects:

  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion

Antacids

Common brand names:

  • Alka Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Pepto Bismol
  • Tums
  • Rolaids
  • Mylanta

These will lower the amount of acid in the stomach. They work quickly to ease heartburn.

Side effects :

Prokinetics

Common brand names:

  • Bethanechol
  • Metoclopramide

These make the lower esophageal sphincter muscle stronger. They also help the stomach clear out faster. They are mainly given along with other medicines

Side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Special Considerations    TOP

If you are taking medicines, follow these general guidelines:

  • Take the medicine as directed. Do not change the amount or the schedule.
  • Ask what side effects could occur. Report them to your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any prescription medicine.
  • Do not share your prescription medicine.
  • Medicines can be dangerous when mixed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking more than one medicine, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
  • Plan ahead for refills as needed.

References:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: https://aga-cms-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/2018214195040---All_GERD_2017.pdf. Updated July 2017. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated September 14, 2017. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/esophageal-and-swallowing-disorders/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Updated April 2018. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Katz PO, Gerson LB, Velva MF. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(3):302-328.
Treatment for GER & GERD. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/treatment. Updated November 2014. Accessed August 20, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 8/20/2018

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