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The Best Heartburn Medicine…

For full effect, you will have to commit to a 2-week course of treatment: 1 capsule a day for 14 days. But the easy-open bottle contains extremely small capsules — about the size of a Benadryl — making Nexium 24HR easy to swallow even if you normally have trouble with pills. For about $20, you get 42 capsules.

How soon can you expect relief? “PPIs take longer than H2 blockers and antacids, around three hours,” said Dr. Sam Malloy, medical director at Dr.Felix.co.uk, an online medical service and pharmacy in the United Kingdom. “And it’s important to take these medicines before you eat, as the process of digestion is what activates them. Taking them before breakfast yields the best results.”

PPIs do come with long-term risks you should be aware of: “People don’t realize that you can become dependent on taking acid blockers forever, especially PPIs. If you skip a dose of a PPI, you could experience the worst heartburn of your life,” Dr. Liu warned us.

Dr. Dobbs agreed. “Even though people end up taking PPIs for years, the medication has been shown to change the pH of your stomach, potentially causing serious health effects. Studies have shown that long-term use of PPIs can increase your risk of developing kidney disease, osteoporosis, community-acquired pneumonia, and developing a bacterium called C. diff., which can cause severe diarrhea. Long-term use could also deplete nutrients in your body.” In other word, stick to the two-week course recommended on the back of the bottle, and if symptoms come back shortly after, it’s time to talk to your doctor.


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