Over-the-Counter Medicines For Acid Reflux

Most people who have acid reflux do not suffer symptoms every day, and their episodes of reflux are brief, lasting only a few minutes or a few hours. Also, many people can predict when they will have symptoms of acid reflux. Based on their previous experience, they know what factors precipitate acid reflux symptoms for them. Fortunately, most episodes of acid reflux that are brought on by overeating, eating the wrong foods, or lying down too soon after a meal can be brought under control with over-the-counter medications, even if such episodes cannot be avoided altogether by the lifestyle changes.

It is important to note that many of the over-the-counter medicines described here contain sodium, a component of salt. If you are on a salt-restricted diet, you will need to read labels carefully to make sure you do not ingest too much sodium.

Common acid reflux medications available without a prescription:

  • Zantac 75 (ranitdine)
  • Tums
  • Pepcid AC
  • Di-Gel
  • Rolaids
  • Amphojel tablets
  • Gelusil
  • Maalox
  • Riopan
  • Nephrox
  • Gaviscon
Antacids are useful in treating acid reflux because they are weak bases and therefore convert the caustic and potentially dangerous hydrochloric acid found in stomach acid into neutral water and a salt. Antacids also decrease the potential caustic effect of pepsin, another chemical found in gastric secretions.