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Heartburn medications: which ones are suitable for whom?

There are three different groups of active ingredients to choose from for the treatment of heartburn: antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Each of these heartburn medications address the symptoms in different ways. Herbal preparations for heartburn are also available. You can find out which medication is right for you here.

Heartburn: Medicines As An Effective Help

Heartburn: The burning pain behind the breastbone, often associated with acid regurgitation and stomach pressure, can Severely affect life. Those who suffer from heartburn feel uncomfortable in their skin and can hardly tackle the tasks ahead without being disturbed. Nocturnal heartburn can also be a stress test: a good night's sleep is almost impossible to think of.

Heartburn medication provide a remedy: They can eliminate the burning sensation and some of them are available from pharmacies without a prescription. Each of the three common groups of active ingredients has a different effect and is designed for specific needs. Those who rely on natural active ingredients can fall back on herbal remedies. With herbal drops or suitable teas, you can positively support digestion and fight heartburn.

Antacids for occasional heartburn

Heartburn occurs when acidic stomach contents flow back into the sensitive esophagus. This is not armed against the acid and reacts irritably to what the person concerned perceives as burning pain. Mostly is too much stomach acid The cause of heartburn: A heavy meal or alcohol can be the triggers for it.

Antacids remove excess stomach acidby neutralizing them through a simple chemical reaction. They work locally in the stomach immediately after swallowing, so the effect usually occurs quickly. These heartburn medications are characterized by a good compatibility off, some preparationsdisplay are even suitable for pregnant women. Others support the stomach by additionally protecting the stomach lining.


Benefits of antacids at a glance:

  • local effect in the stomach
  • neutralize excess acid
  • quick onset of action
  • well tolerated, some also suitable for pregnancy
  • available without a prescription
  • especially for people with occasional heartburn suitable

Read more about antacids, their use and effects here.

Treat regular heartburn with H2 blockers

H2 blockers inhibit the release of gastric acid and are suitable for people who regularly, i.e. at least twice a week, suffer from heartburn and acid-related stomach complaints. In order to be effective, H2 blockers block certain hormone binding sites in gastric acid-producing cells. As a result, hardly any gastric acid gets into the stomach, the This makes stomach contents less acidic.

If it still flows back into the esophagus, the damage is significantly less. Some H2-blocker drugs are available without a prescription, but they may only be taken for a few days for self-treatment. A doctor can prescribe the use of the heartburn medication for a longer period of time and prescribe higher doses.

Advantages of H2 blockers at a glance:

  • reduce stomach acid
  • Effect lasts for a few hours
  • good alternative to proton pump inhibitors
  • well tolerated
  • some active ingredients are available without a prescription
  • especially for people with regular heartburn suitable

H2 blockers might be the right medicine for you? All important information can be found in the article on H2 blockers.

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Get regular and severe complaints under control with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs)

If those affected suffer from severe and frequent heartburn, drugs with a different mechanism of action are required. Proton pump inhibitors inhibit acid production in the stomach. To do this, they specifically block certain pumps that normally carry part of the gastric acid into the stomach. The blockage reduces the amount of acid in the stomach, the symptoms improve or cannot arise in the first place.

PPIs are due to them effective mode of action and good tolerance popular pills for heartburn. Since the effect lasts for a long time, in most cases it is sufficient to take one tablet a day. However, PPIs are less suitable for treating acute heartburn - antacids are better suited for this, as they take effect much faster.


Some PPIs are available from pharmacies without a prescription. In personal responsibility, they should not be taken for longer than 14 days - by then at the latest it is necessary to consult a doctor who can clarify the cause of the heartburn.

Advantages of proton pump inhibitors at a glance:

  • reduce stomach acid
  • long-lasting effect - usually only one tablet required per day
  • proven and well tolerated
  • Ingestion is also possible over a longer period after consultation with a doctor
  • Especially for people with regular and severe discomfort suitable

Mode of action, ingestion, areas of application: Find out more about proton pump inhibitors.

Herbal medicines for heartburn

Herbal medicines offer an alternative to the heartburn medication mentioned above. They contain Medicinal plants, most of which have been known for their effects for centuries and can relieve heartburn and related stomach upset in several ways.

Teas, drops or solutions can stimulate digestion, regulate gastric acid production or relieve cramps, depending on the medicinal plant contained. Camomile tea or a brew made from marshmallow root, for example, are a way of treating heartburn herbal. Also Tea blends are popular and can combat several symptoms of heartburn, as well as a mixture of several medicinal herbs in herbal drops.

Benefits of herbal remedies at a glance:

  • seem natural
  • are often already suitable for children
  • well tolerated
  • partly known for centuries
  • suitable for people who are looking for natural help against heartburn

Read more about the best herbal remedies for heartburn.

Dr. Sabrina Mihlan was particularly interested in human medicine topics during her biology studies. Therefore, she specialized in medicinal plants and clinical biochemistry. After completing her doctorate at the University of Würzburg, she started her traineeship at kanyo in 2015® and still prepares topics from health and medicine there for you to understand and understand.
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