Heartburn: which drugs help

If stomach acid gets into the esophagus, it becomes uncomfortable. Special medicines can alleviate the symptoms. What you should consider when taking

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There is a burning sensation behind the breastbone, you feel uncomfortable, you have to belch sour - heartburn is just uncomfortable. The trigger is stomach acid that travels back into the esophagus. Various factors can promote this process, for example an opulent meal, coffee, white wine or stress.

Special medications can relieve the burning sensation. Pharmacists speak of antacids or proton pump inhibitors, for example. Both drug groups target stomach acid. "Antacids are salts that bind gastric acid and thus have a buffering effect," explains Sophie Kelm, pharmacist in Ellerau.

Our expert: pharmacist Sophie Kelm

© W & B / Martin Ley

What should be considered when taking antacids?

The remedies work quickly - after around 15 to 30 minutes. They are therefore suitable for taking when needed. It is best to use antacids about one to two hours after a meal - but also note the information on the package insert. You can also take them before going to bed. The medication is available for chewing or in sachets. Do not swallow chewable tablets, but chew them thoroughly.

Take the sachet according to the instructions on the package. Most of the time, they have to be kneaded well before use. Important with aluminum-containing antacids: "Do not drink any acidic drinks immediately afterwards, for example orange juice, as this would otherwise promote the absorption of aluminum into the body," advises pharmacist Kelm. Also, be careful not to use antacids at the same time as other medicines, as they may interact. "Keep an interval of two to three hours between ingestion," says Kelm. Otherwise, antacids are considered well tolerated.

Video: Antacids - the most important things in a nutshell

How do you use acid blockers correctly?

Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole get their peculiar name from the way they work. They inhibit an enzyme in the stomach wall, the proton pump, which is involved in the production of stomach acid. In this way, the agents suppress the secretion of gastric acid. Medicinal substances such as omeprazole do not immediately alleviate the symptoms, as the active form of the active ingredient is only created in the body. But the effect lasts for two to three days. "So that the medicine can really help, you should take it half an hour to an hour before eating, preferably before breakfast," says the pharmacist.

So proton pump inhibitors are more suitable for people who struggle with heartburn more often. However, Kelm advises against prolonged use on his own: "If you have to burp acidic often, you should definitely consult a doctor." He can clarify the cause of the complaint. In addition, the funds can lead to side effects. For example, with long-term use, they can affect the body's absorption of vitamin B12 and calcium. Anyone who has been prescribed the preparations by a doctor should seek advice on such side effects beforehand. In addition, you should not stop the funds abruptly, but little by little.

Prevent heartburn

More advisable than fighting heartburn is avoiding it. If there is no illness or another reason behind it, lifestyle often plays a role. Avoid so-called acid looseners such as coffee, alcohol and fruit juices. Do not smoke. Don't eat too high in fat, choose small portions, and don't eat too late in the evening. Avoid hot spices. If you have a lot of stress at work or in your private life and suffer from heartburn, then try to relax actively. So you can counteract heartburn in many ways.