Drugs and medications for acid reflux are readily available. They are to be seen in adverts, some medications for heartburn are sold over the counter, and most doctors are happy to prescribe them on a promise of immediate termination of the crippling pain of acid reflux. After all that, you are surely asking yourself of medications for acid reflux are in any way effective when it is a matter of fixing the real cause of your condition of acid reflux and if the temporary respite justifies the side effects.
Heartburn, also known as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), comes about when the valve in the esophagus (the LES or lower esophageal sphincter) becomes weak and instead of acting one-way, lets stomach content flow back into the esophagus. Usually, after glutition, the LES opens to let food into the stomach before closing to prevent acid from returning into the esophagus. The backward flow of acid coming from this acid reflux is often noticed as a burning sensation that is called heartburn. Therefore, acid reflux patients often experience a particular burning feeling under the breastbone, often coming at night.
Acid reflux that is frequent and comes with one of its common symptoms of heartburn can be distressing and painful enough to impinge on your daily activities and severely damage the esophagus. Acid reflux that is neglected can badly attack the esophagus lining making for inflammation of long duration, leading even to cancer of the esophagus. Acid reflux is clearly a dangerous condition requiring immediate diagnosis and intervention.
Although seeming to be the most readily available cure for acid reflux, acid reflux medication is not necessarily the most effective. There are four major groups of acid reflux medications for treating acid reflux:
1. Antacids are available in a variety of forms: liquid to drink, tablets to chew, chewing gum itself and so on. Their effect is from neutralizing acid in the esophagus and lasts for up to a few hours.
2. Alginates encapsulate stomach contents and reduce reflux.
3. H2-receptor antagonists arrest your gastric system by pretending to produce stomach acid. Beginning 30 to 60 minutes after you take them, their effect lasts up to 12 hours.
4. PPI (Proton pump inhibitors) act as an obstacle to the cells in the stomach that produce the stomach acid.
There is variation in the way in which these medicaments work, as well as the duration and the effect. Nonetheless, they all have a common element:
1. Their effect is temporary. Most acid reflux medicaments are targeted at treating the immediate short-term causes of acid reflux, when acid reflux is more complicated, being created by a group of factors of the environment, lifestyle and diet. So acid reflux medicaments only bring temporary relief, ignoring the real causes of acid reflux.
2. Using these drugs for a long duration can produce multiple side effects. Prolonged usage of antacids can worsen the damage from long duration acid reflux: gastric acid is necessary for good digestion and immunity and continually ingesting antacid interferes with these processes. PPI therapy usually does more good than harm for side effects. Its most frequent side effects including serious headaches and diarrhea, PPI have also been associated with osteoporosis.
Medication therapy for acid reflux is based on the classical approach that compared to the holistic approach does not look after the body while eradicating the symptoms of the disease. For this reason, most medications for acid reflux will not do more than give temporary relief amidst a host of side effects. On the other hand, alternative treatments for acid reflux such as homeopathic solutions, herbal remedies, changes in lifestyle and diet, and detoxification, will solve the internal cause of acid reflux to safely and effectively stop it from happening again.