May 14, 2009 -- The FDA has approved the heartburn drug Prevacid 24HR for sale without a prescription, according to Novartis, the drug company that makes Prevacid 24HR.
Prevacid 24HR is taken once daily to treat frequent heartburn, which is heartburn that happens at least two days per week.
Prevacid 24HR belongs to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors. Other proton pump inhibitors are also available over the counter; Prevacid 24HR is the first such approval since 2003.
According to a Novartis news release, the FDA approved the drug based on a clinical trial in which Prevacid 24HR trumped a placebo at treating frequent heartburn.
"Although some people experienced complete relief of symptoms within 24 hours, it may take one to four days for full effect," Novartis states.
Novartis expects to make Prevacid 24HR available this year.