A lot of Americans – – over 61 million to be exact – – suffer from heartburn. Some of it is due to our poor eating habits. Some of it is due to the fact that so many Americans are overweight. And some of it has more to do with stress related illness.
I am one of the of Americans that suffer from this problem. Oddly enough I don’t indulge in most of the foods that are known to stimulate heartburn:
Coffee and/or tea,
Citrus juices and fruits,
Fried foods, and
Caffeinated drinks, including tea and coffee, as well as citrus items, chocolate, tomato-based products, and alcohol, tend to relax the lower esophageal spinchter (LES). This encourages stomach contents to back up into the esophagus in what is commonly referred to as “acid reflux.” Alcohol also increases production of stomach acid, which causes that uncomfortable burning feeling associated with heartburn.
Fatty and fried foods can seriously slow down digestion. This causes acid to remain in the stomach longer, which can exert pressure and lead to that horribly full, uncomfortable feeling. A full stomach – – caused by over-eating – – will do the same thing.
There are several products on the market today that deal with indigestion. Two of the oldest are Rolaids and Tums. These are still relatively effective in providing relatively decent short-term relief after heartburn begins. But some of today’s newer products can be taken before hand to head off the feeling before you ever experience it. Two of the best are Pepcid and Prilosec.
Pepcid belongs to a class of drugs called “histamine receptor antagonists,” which means that it works to decrease the amount of acid that the stomach regularly produces. Because of the properties of its key ingredient, famotidine, Pepcid is often used by doctors to both treat and prevent the formation of stomach ulcers.
Because Pepcid reduces the amount of acid that the stomach produces, it is also helpful in the prevention of acid reflux disease; the backup of acid from the stomach into the esophagus.
Pepcid comes in several different forms:
Original Strength Pepcid seeks to control acid production to relieve heartburn so that you can enjoy your favorite foods any time of the day – – or night. It can also be mildly effective in helping to prevent heartburn associated with the consumption of certain types of foods and beverages. However, it does not work effectively across the board.
Maximum Strength Pepcid provides more of the medication needed to both relieve and prevent heartburn. It advertises that it will “last throughout the day” with a stronger, tough acting stomach acid prevention medication. It is, therefore, good at preventing the reoccurrence of heartburn associated with eating certain types of foods.
Pepcid Complete claims to “neutralize acid in seconds.” Its dual action formula, unlike maximum strength, seeks to stop heartburn from happening in the first place. Should it sneak through, however, Pepcid Complete guarantees to stop it in its tracks.
The product isn’t cheap at over $8 for six tablets, or roughly $1.34 per pill. There are, however, several generic products on the market, which are about half the cost. All are available in most discount department, drug, and grocery stores. Pepcid is also excellent in providing coupons to save customers money.
I give this product three out five stars. While I find Pepcid is effective if taken immediately when heartburn first begins, I have not found that the medication does anything to stop the prevention of further heartburn. Nor has Pepcid Complete worked for me in preventing heartburn to begin with.
Prilosec OTC, unlike Pepcid, focuses on preventing heartburn from occurring. Its active ingredient, omeprazole magnesium is released slowly into the body to target acid production. Prilosec’s proton pump inhibitor’s actually work to close the acid pumps that move acid into the stomach.
Also unlike Pepcid, which is recommended for those who “occasionally” experience heartburn, Prilosec is for people who experience heartburn more than twice a week. It advertises that it will work for 24 hours, however, I find that one tablet works for several days for me.
It is also not inexpensive at about $10 for fourteen tablets or about $.78 per pill. At nearly one-half the cost of Pepcid, however, it is a better bargain when you take into consideration that one tablet can last beyond 24 hours. With Pepcid, it is possible you will need to take more than one tablet per day.
Prilosec is also widely available at discount department, drug, an grocery stores.
I love Prilosec. I find it much more effective overall at both stopping heartburn and preventing it altogether. This one definitely gets five out of five stars.