Heartburn, also commonly called acidity, occurs when your stomach produces too much acid that flows back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest.
Also called acid indigestion, acidity is an uncomfortable sensation in the mid-chest or in the upper part of the abdomen. In some people, heartburn can make them taste food or fluid acidic, sometimes, causing regurgitation.
Generic medicines for acidity are often available over the counter. If they do not help enough, talk to your doctor who may want to see whether you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Generic medicines for acidity include antacids, histamine-2 (H2) blockers, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs).
Antacids neutralize stomach acid and provide relief from heartburn, acid indigestion, and upset stomach. Antacids should be taken exactly as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. Common examples of antacids include:
- Calcium carbonate (Alka-Seltzer, Tums)
- Aluminum hydroxide gel (Amphojel)
- Magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
- Gaviscon, Gelusil, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids
Histamine-2 (H2) Blockers
H2 blockers relieve and prevent acidity and work by reducing the amount of stomach acid. These drugs start to work within an hour or three, providing acid suppression for several hours. Common OTC H2-blockers include:
- Tagamet HB (cimetidine)
- Pepcid Complete or Pepcid AC (famotidine)
- Axid AR (nizatidine)
- Zantac (ranitidine) – discontinued in 2020
Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
PPIs are the most commonly advised medicines for heartburn. They are not intended for immediate relief of acidity, as they take one to four days for full effect, according to the FDA. PPIs are widely used to treat conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric ulcers, and inflammation of the esophagus. Like H2 blockers, PPIs work by reducing the stomach. Common PPIs for acidity include:
- Nexium (esomeprazole)
- Prevacid (lansoprazole)
- Prilosec (omeprazole)
- Zegerid (omeprazole and sodium bicarbonate)
All of these generic medicines for acidity can provide relief from the symptoms. If you have severe acidity and that these medications do not relieve, call your doctor. You may need stronger prescription drugs and even tests to look for any underlying cause.