Frequent Heartburn Fact Sheet
About Frequent Heartburn
Frequent heartburn is a result of the backing up of stomach acid into the esophagus. Typically the lower esophageal sphincter muscle opens to allow food to pass, but then quickly closes. However, in frequent heartburn sufferers the muscle relaxes and allows food and acid from the stomach to travel back up into the esophagus. As a result, sufferers often have a burning sensation in the chest and/or throat, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, chronic coughing and wheezing or other asthma-like symptoms. These symptoms of frequent heartburn can become worse when one lies down to go to sleep at night.
Lifestyle and behavioral factors that can heighten heartburn include certain foods, alcohol, large meals, certain medications, and cigarette smoking.2 Infrequent heartburn can often be controlled by modifying behaviors, such as avoiding certain foods like fried or fatty foods, chocolate, coffee, carbonated beverages, citrus fruits and tomato products, or quitting smoking. However, lifestyle modifications may not completely control heartburn symptoms in frequent heartburn sufferers who often need to seek treatment for their symptoms.
Frequent heartburn can be very painful, significantly interrupting daily activities and disrupting a full night's sleep.
There are a number of over-the-counter medications available for the treatment of heartburn, both occasional and frequent. They include:
Antacids neutralize stomach acid and are indicated for immediate relief. Relief from an antacid lasts for about 30 minutes, and they're used mostly for occasional heartburn.3
- H2 Blockers
These drugs, which stop further acid production by blocking H2 receptors on the acid-producing cells lining the stomach, are indicated for relieving and preventing heartburn associated with acid indigestion and sour stomach. H2 blockers don't work as quickly as antacids, but their effect lasts longer—up to 10 hours. People who have episodic heartburn may find them helpful.3
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
Over-the-counter PPIs are indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn. PPIs work by stopping the release of acid into the stomach and can provide relief of frequent heartburn up to 24 hours.
2 The Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heartburn-gerd/DS00095/DSECTION=causes
3 Zweber A, Berardi RR. Heartburn and dyspepsia. In: Berardi RR, Kroon LA, McDermott JH, et al, eds. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: An Interactive Approach to Self-Care. 15th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2006:265-282.
May take 1-4 days for full effect, although some people get complete relief of symptoms within 24 hours. Prevacid�®24HR is indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn, which occurs 2 or more days a week. Use as directed for 14 days. Take one course every 4 months or as directed by your doctor. If your heartburn continues or worsens stop use and ask your doctor.© 2009 Novartis Consumer Health, Inc.
Prevacid®24HR is indicated for the treatment of frequent heartburn. Prevacid® is a prescription medication indicated for the treatment of many other acid-related conditions. For details on prescription Prevacid® visit www.prevacid.com.
Prevacid® is a registered trademark of Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., and is used under license.