Using your heartburn medication the right way

If your doctor has prescribed a heartburn medication, it's important to use it exactly as prescribed in order to get the greatest benefit. For many people with frequent or severe heartburn symptoms, this means taking the medication regularly every day, not just when they have symptoms.

Dr. Armstrong often recommends that his patients take their medication regularly each day, especially in the early phases of treatment, as this leads to much better results. Taking the medication each day ensures that it will be working for you regularly. This will aid in healing any damage you may have in your esophagus and help resolve your heartburn symptoms.

Once you have achieved symptom resolution of your heartburn, you may consider discussing "on-demand therapy" with your doctor. This means taking the medication for a few days when you need it for symptoms, and not taking the medication when you don't have symptoms. According to Dr. Armstrong, this type of treatment works best for people with infrequent symptoms (no more than a couple of times per week). People with more frequent symptoms will need to continue taking their medication regularly each day.

Frequent heartburn is a symptom of a medical condition called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Taking a medication that provides acid suppression can help resolve your symptoms and heal damage, says Dr. Armstrong, but it won't make GERD go away. People with frequent or severe heartburn symptoms may need to continue taking their treatment regularly each day over the long term.

That's why it's so important to keep taking your heartburn medication exactly as your doctor recommends. If you have any questions about whether your treatment is working for you, how to use your treatment, or how long you may need to continue treatment, talk to your doctor.

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