An article published recently on the Medical News Today website provided readers with key information about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and discussed the selection of available OTC medications for the treatment and prevention of GERD. In the article, the author indicated that acid reflux is a common occurrence that typically occurs after eating too much, ingestion of certain foods, or lying down just after eating. Risk factors for GERD may include overweight/obesity, being pregnant, having asthma, ingestion of alcohol, and smoking.

The author notes that some medications, such as benzodiazepines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, calcium channel blockers, and certain medications prescribed for asthma, can also cause or exacerbate GERD. Additionally, the article provided an overview of available OTC products to treat dyspepsia, GERD, and heartburn, including antacids and histamine2-receptor agonists (H2RAs) for patients with infrequent, mild dyspepsia and heartburn.

H2RAs are used to treat GERD, gastric or duodenal ulcers, gastric hypersecretion, and mild heartburn or indigestion. OTC antacids are used to treat mild heartburn, indigestion, and mild GERD symptoms, and they exert their pharmacologic effects via neutralizing stomach acid. The author also discussed available OTC proton-pump inhibitors that can be used for treating frequent heartburn (occurring more than 2 days per week) or for those who do not respond to the use of OTC H2RAs or antacids.

In addition, the author recommended that patients suffering from GERD seek medical advice from their primary healthcare provider to confirm that the symptoms are related to GERD. Patients with persistent and recurring episodes of heartburn or those exhibiting atypical or severe symptoms should be immediately referred to their primary healthcare provider for medical evaluation. If symptoms show no signs of improvement or worsen after 14 days of self-treatment, patients using OTC products should seek immediate medical care from their primary healthcare provider.

Pharmacists are well positions to identify potential drug-drug interactions and contraindications, and they can assist patients in the proper selection of these OTC agents.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

« Click here to return to Gastro Update.