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With the growing concern over the dangers of long-term PPI (proton pump inhibitor) use, many who suffer from GERD, chronic acid reflux, are focusing on H2 blockers (histamine receptor blockers) for relief. H2 blockers are a different class of heartburn medication that don’t have the negative side-effects of PPIs. H2 blockers work by reducing the amount of acid secreted by glands in the stomach and can provide up to 12 hours of relief.
Examples of OTC H2 Blockers
- Axid (nizatidine)
- Pepcid (famotidine)
- Tagamet (cimetidine)
- Zantac (ranitidine)
Directions for Taking H2 Blockers
Many take H2 blockers improperly and fail to receive the desired relief from heartburn. Let’s review the directions on the label of a common OTC H2 blocker.
Directions for Maximum Strength Zantac 150 are as follows
Adults and children 12 years and over:
- To relieve symptoms, swallow 1 tablet with a glass of water
- To prevent symptoms, swallow 1 tablet with a glass of water 30 to 60 minutes before eating food or drinking beverages that cause heartburn
- Can be used up to twice daily (do not take more than 2 tablets in 24 hours)
- children under 12 years: ask a doctor
How to Increase the Effectiveness of H2 Blockers
Directions for taking H2 blockers whether for relief or prevention say to take the pill with a glass of water. I’ve found that drinking an 8oz glass of water with the medication to be key in relieving heartburn. I took H2 blockers for years without great results. I swallowed the pill with some water but not a whole glass. When I started taking them with an 8oz glass of water, their effectiveness results improved phenomenally.
Note on PPIs and Moving to H2 Blockers
PPIs are getting negative press but many need to be on them in order to heal ulcers and other digestive issues. Pay attention to your doctor and their directions. If you’re concerned about PPIs side-effects, discuss the possibilities of H2 blockers instead of PPIs and remember PPIs have an acid rebound effect when discontinued. It’s best to slowly wean off PPIs to avoid acid rebound.