Pharmacy Corner
Heartburn: A Burning Sensation How should I treat my heartburn?

Before you self-treat heartburn symptoms, ask the following 3 questions:

  1. How often do you have heartburn?
  2. How severe are each episode?
  3. Have you tried medications to treat heartburn before?

If you have mild heartburn less than twice a week, you can usually treat it with over-the-counter medications such as antacids or acid lowering drugs such as ranitidine/famotidine. Both options work by neutralizing the stomach acid. Antacids provide more rapid relief compared to ranitidine and famotidine. But the ranitidine and famotidine last much longer than antacids.

OTC MedicationsComments
  • TUMS®
  • Diovol®
  • Gaviscon®
Take medication within 20-60 minutes after a meal

Starts working in 15-30 minutes and provides modest relief for up to 90 minutes.
Acid lowering drugs
  • Ranitidine (Zantac®)
  • Famotidine (Pepcid®)
Most benefit if taken before exposure to risk factors (i.e. large meal, rigorous exercise)

Starts working in 1-2 hours. Effect lasts up to 9 hours with single dose.

If you are unsure of how to treat your heartburn or experience it more frequently and severely, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.