How Acid Reducers Can Help Treat Heartburn

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on April 18, 2022
2 min read

Heartburn is a burning feeling in the center of your chest. It can happen after you eat, after you bend over, or when you lie down.

Simple daily changes might be all you need, such as:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Lose weight, if needed.
  • Eat small meals, more often.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Don’t lie down for 3 hours after eating.
  • Raise the head of your bed by 6-8 inches.
  • Avoid food or beverages that might make symptoms worse.

If you’re thinking of trying medicine, talk it over with your doctor, even if you can buy it “over the counter,” which means you don’t need a prescription.

There are different types of medications that tame heartburn by turning down how much acid is in your stomach.

Antacids: Many of these products combine aluminum, magnesium, or calcium with hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to stop stomach acid.

Histamine 2 blockers (also called H2 blockers) target a substance called histamine. The result is that your stomach makes less acid, which cuts down on heartburn.

You can get these products in lower strength as OTC medications, and at a higher strength as prescription drugs. Commonly used H2 blockers are:

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) block the enzyme in the stomach wall that makes acid. Commonly used PPIs are: