The medicines we prescribe are very effective at preventing acid reflux, unlike antacids which only provide temporary relief. We prescribe a broader range of medicines and doses than you can get over-the-counter.
The medicines we prescribe include ranitidine (Zantac) and omeprazole (Prilosec). We'll give you a 3-month prescription. They work by reducing the amount of acid the stomach makes. See our FAQs for more information about how we'll treat you.
They're generally safe but it can also cause serious side effects, including but not limited to bone marrow and blood cell disorders, heart rhythm abnormalities, infectious diarrhea, osteoporosis related fractures, liver, and kidney disease. Read the package insert that comes with the medicine for a full list of side effects and warnings.
We diagnose acid reflux based on your symptoms, but there's always a risk of misdiagnosis. We only prescribe a treatment when it's appropriate based on evidence-based guidelines.
If we treat you for acid reflux even though you don't have it, you'd be taking a medicine unnecessarily and taking on the small risk of side effects from the medicine without any clear benefit. There's also a risk that the medicine we prescribe won't work, even if we correctly diagnosed you with acid reflux.
Your symptoms could also be related to or caused by other, and possibly more serious conditions, including but not limited to heart disease or gastrointestinal ulcers, infection, bleeding, or cancers. By treating you for acid reflux there's a risk that we'll delay investigation and treatment of a more serious condition.
If we tell you we can't help, we'll always give you clear instructions to go see a doctor in person.
A range of prescription and over-the-counter medicines exist to treat acid reflux, and these medicines often come in more than one dose. You may decline our recommended treatment and decide instead to use an alternative prescription or over-the-counter medicine, especially if it's important to you to start on a higher dose than we're prescribing for you.
It's also important to consider the option of not taking any prescription medicines for your acid reflux. However, the risk is that if you indeed have acid reflux and it is left untreated, it can lead to more serious medical conditions such as gastrointestinal ulcers, bleeding, and cancer.