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

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
Antacids
  • 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.