Medicines That Cause Symptoms of GERD

While most medicines are not a problem for people who suffer from GERD, there are two ways in which medicines can make GERD symptoms worse. First, some medicines, like some foods, can be irritants to the lining of the esophagus and stomach. These medications may damage mucosal tissues when an episode of acid reflux occurs, if the acid contains chemicals from these medications. Medicines in this category include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen), some antibiotics (such as doxycycline), iron pills, potassium supplements, and the heart medicine quinidine.

Second, some medicines reduce pressure in the LES, thus increasing the frequency and severity of acid reflux. Medicines of this kind include nitrates, used to treat angina; theophylline, used to treat asthma; and calcium-channel blockers, used in hypertension and heart disease.

While an alternative medicine may be available that does not increase GERD symptoms (for example, acetaminophen as a substitute for aspirin or ibuprofen to control pain or fever), sometimes there are no appropriate substitutions. It's always important to consult your primary health care provider before making any changes in your medications or stopping a medications for any reason, including GERD. On the other hand, you care provider may not be aware of the effect of the medication on your GERD, and if you inform him or her, it is possible that changes can be made.

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