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Heartburn is not actually a disease condition, rather it is a symptom of gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD). Also known as acid indigestion, it is felt as a burning sensation in the chest portion, especially behind the sternum. Common signs that accompany heartburn are chest pain, swallowing difficulty, and regurgitation of sour tasting fluid at the back of throat. If left untreated, repeated acid reflux to the upper digestive tract for an extended period will cause damaging effects to the esophagus.

Antacids
The best heartburn medicine that is sold over the counter is an antacid. It is formulated with one or more of the ingredients―calcium bicarbonate, sodium bicarbonate, magnesium, and aluminum hydroxide. Available in liquid and tablet forms, antacids neutralize the acid secreted by the stomach, thus relieving the burning sensation.

Acid Blockers
Acid blockers are sold as OTC or prescription medication. Based on the formulation, there are two types of acid blockers―Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) and Histamine Antagonist (H2 antagonist). The PPIs block acid secretion for an extended period, while histamine antagonists counteract histamine (a trigger for acid production).

Combination Medicine
Combination medicine is available as an OTC drug. As the name signifies, it is made up of an antacid and acid blocker. Purported as a quick pain relieving medication for heartburn, it combines the effect of an antacid that aids in acid neutralization, and an acid blocker that helps in blocking the acid production of the stomach.

List of OTC Medicine for Heartburn
  • Surpass Gum
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Milk of Magnesia
  • Alternagel
  • Gelusil
  • Alka-2
  • Titralac
  • Tums
  • Gaviscon
  • Mylanta
  • Axid AR
  • Tagamet HB
  • Zantac 75
  • Pepcid AC
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Maalox
  • Riopan
  • Rolaids
  • Pepcid Complete
List of Prescription Medicine for Heartburn
  • Kapidex
  • Zegerid
  • Prilosec
  • Aciphex
  • Prevacid
  • Nexium
  • Protonix
  • Zegerid
  • Pepcid
  • Zantac
  • Tagamet
  • Axid
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), using heartburn drugs (that inhibit stomach acids) for more than a year increases the risk of bone fractures. One needs to refer to the dosage directions mentioned on the package. If mild heartburn symptoms persist for more than 1 - 2 weeks or turn into constant heartburn, get the condition examined by a doctor. After diagnosis, medications and lifestyle modifications will be instructed for effective treatment. For prescription medicine, strictly follow the recommendations of the physician.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.