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From Tums to surgery, there’s a huge range of options for treating GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). To help you decide which might be best for you, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) combed through 166 studies. What the group learned:
Prilosec and other proton pump inhibitors ease the burn and help the esophagus heal better than Zantac and other histamine type 2 receptor. (Note: For occasional symptoms, antacids work fastest, but the relief is short-lived.)
Within each medication type, brand doesn’t matter, and lower doses available OTC can be as effective as an Rx. “But don’t change the type of drug you’re taking without talking to your doctor,” says Elizabeth Kato, M.D. of AHRQ. “Each has different possible interaction with other drugs.”
Surgery, while helpful for some, doesn’t completely eliminate the need for medication and may lead to serious ongoig side effects.