Is it safe to take zantac every day?



Asked by claire kee

Is It Safe To Take Zantac 150mg 2xday Every Day?

Doctors have prescribed Pantoprazole to be taken every day for my chronic heartburn, but I find that Zantac works better, not perfectly, but better, along with a strict diet, ofcourse. but I am worried that although Pantoprazole is fairly safe daily and long term, Zantac may have serious side effects, it warns on the box to be taken only for a month or two. I recently had Candida Albicans in the bowel after taking Pantoprazole for months and months.Which is safer?


claire kee,

That’s a tough question. There are pluses and minuses to both drugs.

Pantoprazole is classified as a proton pump inhibitor. It works by blocking acid production in the stomach. PPI’s have been shown to be the most effective medications for treating acid reflux. However, there are associated side effects – such as bacteria overgrowth in the intestine. However, studies have shown Pantoprazole to be relatively safe is both short term and long term trials. (read more on the drug here.)

However, Zantac is an H2 Histamine blocker. This class of drugs also works to block or prevent the production of stomach acid. As you know, there are also associated side effects. (read more about Zantac here.)

Certain medications are more effective for different people. You should discuss with your doctor the different options and decide which is right for you, and only take medications as often as your doctor has prescribed.

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher early death risk

Millions of U.S. residents take proton pump inhibitors which are widely prescribed to treat heartburn, ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. The drugs also are available over the counter under brand names that include Prevacid, Prilosec and Nexium.

For the study, the researchers examined medical records of some 275,000 users of PPIs and nearly 75,000 people who took another class of drugs — known as H2 blockers — to reduce stomach acid. The research is published online July 3 in the journal BMJ Open.

“No matter how we sliced and diced the data from this large data set, we saw the same thing: There’s an increased risk of death among PPI users,” said senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine. “For example, when we compared patients taking H2 blockers with those taking PPIs for one to two years, we found those on PPIs had a 50 percent increased risk of dying over the next five years. People have the idea that PPIs are very safe because they are readily available, but there are real risks to taking these drugs, particularly for long periods of time.”

Both PPIs and H2 blockers are prescribed for serious medical conditions such as upper gastrointestinal tract bleeding, gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal cancer. Over-the-counter PPIs are most often used for heartburn and indigestion.

PPIs have become one of the most commonly used classes of drugs in the United States with 15 million monthly prescriptions in 2015 for Nexium alone, according to WebMD.


A kidney doctor by profession, Al-Aly has previously published studies linking PPIs to kidney disease, and other researchers have shown an association with other health problems. Al-Aly, first author Yan Xie, PhD, a data scientist, and colleagues reasoned that since each of these side effects carries a small risk of death, together they may affect the mortality rate of PPI users.

To find out, the researchers sifted through millions of de-identified veterans’ medical records in a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They identified 275,933 people who had been prescribed a PPI and 73,355 people prescribed an H2 blocker between October 2006 and September 2008, and noted how many died and when over the following five years. The database did not include information on cause of death.

Al-Aly and colleagues found a 25 percent increased risk of death in the PPI group compared with the H2 blocker group. The researchers calculate that, for every 500 people taking PPIs for a year, there is one extra death that would not have otherwise occurred. Given the millions of people who take PPIs regularly, this could translate into thousands of excess deaths every year, Al-Aly said.

The researchers also calculated the risk of death in people who were prescribed PPIs or H2 blockers despite not having the gastrointestinal conditions for which the drugs are recommended. Here, the researchers found that people who took PPIs had a 24 percent increased risk of death compared with people taking H2 blockers.

Further, the risk rose steadily the longer people used the drugs. After 30 days, the risk of death in the PPI and H2 blocker groups was not significantly different, but among people taking the drugs for one to two years, the risk to PPI users was nearly 50 percent higher than that of H2 blocker users.


Although the recommended treatment regimen for most PPIs is short — two to eight weeks for ulcers, for example — many people end up taking the drugs for months or years.

“A lot of times people get prescribed PPIs for a good medical reason, but then doctors don’t stop it and patients just keep getting refill after refill after refill,” Al-Aly said. “There needs to be periodic re-assessments as to whether people need to be on these. Most of the time, people aren’t going to need to be on PPIs for a year or two or three.”

As compared with the H2 blocker group, people in the PPI group were older (64 years old, on average, versus 61) and also somewhat sicker, with higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. But these differences cannot fully account for the increased risk of death since the risk remained even when the researchers statistically controlled for age and illness.

Over-the-counter PPIs contain the same chemical compounds as in prescription PPIs, just at lower doses, and there is no way to know how long people stay on them. The Food and Drug Administration recommends taking PPIs no longer than four weeks before consulting a doctor.

Al-Aly emphasizes that deciding whether to take a PPI requires a risk-benefit calculation.

“PPIs save lives,” Al-Aly said. “If I needed a PPI, I absolutely would take it. But I wouldn’t take it willy-nilly if I didn’t need it. And I would want my doctor to be monitoring me carefully and take me off it the moment it was no longer needed.”

Dangerous Side Effects of Heartburn Medications

PPI Drugs Can Cause Kidney Damage and Disease

Proton pump inhibitors are among the more commonly used heartburn drugs you can get over the counter or via prescription today. Proton pump inhibitors are taken by an estimated 15 million Americans and rake in around 10 billion dollars annually.

As such a commonplace heartburn remedy, one would assume it would be completely safe. Alas, proton pump inhibiting drugs have been linked to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure among other health issues.

Popular Proton Pump Inhibitor Drugs

These drugs are available over the counter or by prescription as a pill or liquid ingested orally. The most popular of these PPI drugs would be Prilosec (omeprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole) with 218 a 300 million dollars in annual sales respectively.

What Are Proton Pump Inhibitors?

The primary function of proton pump inhibitors is to reduce the production of gastric acid which in turn helps reduce the heartburn the acid can cause. Proton pump inhibitors have also been used to help with a myriad of other medical conditions such as:

  • Barrett’s Esophagus – Damage to the lower portion of the tube that connects the mouth and stomach
  • Gastritis – Any of a group of conditions in which the stomach lining is inflamed
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – A digestive disease in which stomach acid or bile irritates the food pipelining
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease (PUD) – A sore that develops on the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine
  • Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome – A condition in which one or more tumors form in your pancreas or the upper part of your small intestine
  • Dyspepsia – Indigestion
  • Gastrinomas – A tumor in the pancreas or duodenum that secretes excess of gastrin leading to ulceration in the duodenum, stomach and the small intestine

Proton pump inhibitors gained traction as a remedy for heartburn since it has minimal short-term side effects such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation

However, upon closer study researchers determined that while the short-term side effects were minimal, there was a slew of possible long-term health risks that could develop. Therefore the FDA has recommended no more than three 14-day treatment courses in a one-year time period.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Health Risks

By blocking the creation of gastric acids in the stomach, proton pump inhibitors can also block the absorption of minerals into the body. This has linked PPI’s to:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) – Longstanding disease of the kidneys leading to renal failure.
  • Acute kidney injury (AKI) – A condition in which the kidneys suddenly can’t filter waste from the blood.
  • Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) – Swelling in between the kidney tubules
  • End-stage renal disease (ESRD) – Longstanding disease of the kidneys leading to renal failure due to the kidney’s inability to purify blood
  • Strokes
  • Dementia
  • Certain infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bone fractures

Kidney Damage

According to a study published by the Journal of American Medicine, PPIs can increase a patient’s risk of developing serious kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease and kidney failure. The onset of the disease is gradual and most will not notice the effects of their kidney damage until it’s too late.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Pregnancy Risk

The University of Pennsylvania found evidence that shows babies born to mothers who used PPIs during the first pregnancy trimester were twice as likely to develop congenital heart defects. The most common of these defects being septal defects which are holes in the heart.

Proton Pump Inhibitor Claims

The liability of any drug injury claim can vary case to case. The nature of the injuries, how the drug was obtained, etc. can all change the nature of the case. The various ways someone can be held liable for your drug injuries include:

  • Products liability: When any product injures consumers due to defects in design or manufacturing, the manufacturer is obligated to pay compensation for these injuries. In addition to the manufacturer, distributors and retailers can also face liability for getting the dangerous product to the injured consumer.
  • Dangerous side effects: Almost every medication comes with the possibility of side effects. While drug manufacturers are not expected to eliminate all possible side effects, they must properly label their products and adequately warn consumers about them. In some cases, manufacturers actually attempt to conceal the possibility of side effects.
  • Improper marketing: Marketing of pharmaceutical products does not refer only to television or magazine advertisements. Improper marketing can also consist of the packaging, branding, warnings, and counseling about a medication. A manufacturer, sales representative, doctor, or pharmacist can provide counseling about a medication.

It is also important to know exactly who will be held liable for any damages sustained by a drug like a proton pump inhibitor. It’s not as simple as pointing fingers at the company credited with making the product. A product has to move down a chain of several businesses or “stream of commerce”. Any or all of the businesses in this stream leading to the customer could be held liable. These could include the manufacturer, distributor, or retail sales location that finally gets the product into the consumer’s hands.

Examples of parties that could be held liable for damages you sustained from taking drugs like proton pump inhibitors include:

  • Testing laboratories
  • Pharmaceutical sales representatives
  • Physicians
  • Medical facilities
  • Pharmacies or pharmacists

Contact an Experienced Drug Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one have suffered from any of the aforementioned conditions and have taken proton pump inhibitor drugs in the past, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group for a free consultation. Our skilled lawyers have experience in assisting in drug injury claims and getting clients the compensation that deserves.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 3 ways:

  • Call Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900
  • Complete this online contact form
  • Click the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page

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Are Heartburn Drugs Safe?

Millions of people worldwide have taken proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) since 1989 to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other reflux disorders. These drugs have been heavily advertised, and many people today routinely take the “little purple pill” and similar medicines for months or even years at a time without getting a prescription, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While most patients don’t experience safety issues, studies over the years have raised questions about a number of serious and potentially life-threatening side effects. Among other things, these pills have been tied to an increased risk of premature death, heart disease, certain cancers, dementia, lung disorders, fractures, kidney damage, pneumonia, and bacterial infections.

Here’s what you need to know to decide if these drugs are right for you, and whether you need to see a doctor before you try over-the-counter PPIs.

What Is Heartburn and How Can PPIs Help?

Heartburn happens to lots of us when we have an especially spicy, fatty, or heavy meal. It develops when stomach acid flows up into the esophagus, or food pipe, causing a burning sensation in the chest, often accompanied by a bitter or sour taste in the mouth and throat. Symptoms are especially common among the elderly, pregnant women, smokers, and people who are overweight or obese.

More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, and more than 15 million people suffer daily symptoms, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

Sometimes heartburn eases with lifestyle changes, like eating smaller meals and eating more slowly. Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can also help.

Over-the-counter antacids, like Alka-Seltzer, Mylanta, and Tums, can help ease occasional pain and discomfort caused by heartburn or acid reflux. But these drugs don’t actually stop acid production.

That’s where PPIs come in. Sold under brand names like Prilosec (omeprazole) and Nexium (esomeprazole), PPIs work by curbing production of stomach acid. Doctors prescribe these drugs to treat GERD, a condition that develops when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. PPIs also treat Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that can cause ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. And, the drugs can also halt the production of stomach acid that causes ulcers with long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).

When doctors prescribe PPIs, benefits like reducing hospitalizations for GERD generally outweigh the risk of rare side effects associated with the drugs, says Joel Rubenstein, MD, an associate professor of gastroenterology at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. But the picture is different for many people who buy PPIs without ever seeing a doctor, he adds.

`Zero Benefit’

“Many millions of patients with symptoms thought to be due to GERD are taking a PPI,” but don’t actually have GERD or need these drugs, Dr. Rubenstein says. “In these patients, the tiny risks of PPI and substantial financial cost are not worth the zero benefit.”

People who take over-the-counter PPIs shouldn’t stay on these drugs for more than two weeks or turn to these drugs more than once every four months without seeing a doctor, according to warning labels on the medicines.

“The side effects are rare only if the course is a short-term one; less than two or a maximum of three weeks,” says Ruben Abagyan, PhD, a professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California in San Diego.

“The side effects look almost inevitable if the drugs are taken for a long period of time,” Dr. Abagyan says. And there’s research to support that.

First off, there’s the potential for PPIs to lead to an early grave. One observational study published in July 2017 in the journal BMJ followed almost 350,000 U.S. veterans for a median of 5.7 years and found patients who got new PPI prescriptions were 23 percent more likely to die during follow-up than people who didn’t take acid-suppression drugs.

The same research team published a longer study in May 2019 in BMJ that followed almost 215,000 veterans. This time, they found the drugs associated with a 10-year mortality risk of 45 excess deaths for every 1,000 patients.

“The absolute risk is small, but given the millions of people on PPIs, the overall population level risk is substantial,” says senior author of both studies Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, director of the clinical epidemiology center and chief of research and education service at Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System in Missouri.

Generally, the risk of side effects is higher in people who don’t need PPIs but take them anyway, Dr. Al-Aly says. He, too, cautioned against using the OTC drugs for more than two weeks without seeing a doctor.

Most of the studies that have found safety issues with PPIs weren’t clinical trials designed to prove whether or how these drugs might directly cause certain side effects. Instead, they were observational studies that simply looked at data on large groups of people to compare health outcomes for patients who took PPIs and patients who didn’t.

Absolute Risk for Serious Side Effects Is Low

For many other serious side effects associated with PPIs, the absolute risk is low and the evidence isn’t definitive, says Dhyanesh Patel, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the Center for Swallowing and Esophageal Disorders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

One study examining the link between PPIs and kidney disease found the drugs associated with up to a 0.3 percent greater risk of kidney disease per patient for each year on the drugs.

Another study found the medicines associated with up to a 1.5 percent greater risk of dementia per elderly patient per year.

And, each year on PPIs was associated with up to a 0.5 percent higher risk of hip fractures for older adults taking the drugs in a different observational study.

These links — and connections to several other side effects — aren’t strong enough at this point for patients to steer clear of PPIs just because they have other risk factors, several doctors said.

Elderly patients, for example, might be more prone to side effects associated with PPIs because of multiple chronic health problems that are unrelated to the PPIs and might be tied to their use of other medication, Dr. Patel says.

“PPI therapy might be entirely appropriate, but yet may be blamed for any subsequent adverse event,” Patel says.

Infections Are Clearest Risk

The clearest exception may be infections, which have been consistently linked to PPIs in several large, observational studies over the years.

One three-year study, published in May 2019 in the journal Gastroenterology, randomly assigned more than 17,000 patients to take a PPI or placebo in combination with blood-thinners, and found PPI users were 33 percent more likely to develop enteric infections. These infections develop in the small intestine and are caused by a type of bacteria known as campylobacter. Enteric infections are a leading cause of diarrhea.

More than 900 people would need to take PPIs for over a year for one patient to develop an enteric infection that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred, says Paul Moayyedi, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant dean of research at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Patients on PPIs in this study were also more than twice as likely to develop Clostridium difficile infections, but there were only 13 cases and this made it impossible to rule out the possibility that the connection might be due to chance.

So-called C. diff infections can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation in the colon.

Of all the potential safety concerns with PPIs, the risk of infections is one that doctors most consistently say changes how they prescribe the drugs.

“I try to get patients off PPIs or minimize the dose if they have had C. diff,” says Rubenstein. “And I recommend that patients who have household contacts with enteric infections hold the PPI for a week to 10 days to reduce the risk of contracting the infection.”

Study Leaves More Questions Than Answers

Beyond the elevated infection risk, this study didn’t find a connection between PPIs and several other safety issues it examined that have been identified by earlier research. PPIs didn’t appear to cause fractures, kidney disease, dementia, cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hospitalizations, or premature death.

“It is very reassuring that our trial was negative and suggests the risks of PPIs have at the very least been overstated,” Dr. Moayyedi says.

Even though this study was the gold standard for drug safety research — randomly assigning some patients to take a medicine and others to take a placebo — the goal of the study was to test PPI safety only in people with damaged arteries who were prescribed aspirin or the blood-thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban). It’s possible results would be different in other groups of people.

Some side effects might also surface in a larger, longer study that didn’t appear in this trial. “We still can’t exclude a very small risk of harms,” Moayyedi says.

For now, safety concerns shouldn’t deter doctors from prescribing PPIs to patients who need them, says Vandana Nehra, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

That’s because most of the problems identified so far have been found in observational studies that can’t prove PPIs directly caused specific side effects, and because the association usually wasn’t a strong one, Dr. Nehra says.

But patients should still exercise caution and common sense.

Left to their own devices, many patients may take PPIs for conditions that the drugs are designed to treat, then take a higher than recommended dose for longer than they should when the drugs fail to work, Nehra says.

“It’s important to use PPIs under the supervision of a clinician at the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time,” Nehra advised.

A new study examined the risk of mortality with long-term use of heartburn medicine, finding PPIs associated with increased mortality.

Heartburn medications are some of the most commonly used drugs in North America, both with or without a prescription. However, their widespread and unnecessary usage may have serious long-term health effects. Medications for heartburn and acid reflux are widely used in the US, with more than 15 million active prescriptions at a time, in addition to over the counter usage. Many of these prescriptions are for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which inhibit the production of acid in the stomach walls. Previous research suggests that PPI use is associated with a higher risk of premature death. However, quantitative data for specific conditions and causes of death was lacking.

Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine recently completed a quantitative study comparing mortality rates with PPI usage. Their work was published in the BMJ and included data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Their dataset included approximately 157,000 patients who had been prescribed PPIs and approximately 56,000 who had been prescribed H2 blockers, another class of heartburn medication.

Proton pump inhibitors associated with increased risk of mortality

The researchers followed up on these patients for 10 years and found that the patients who were prescribed PPIs had a 17 percent increased mortality risk compared with patients prescribed H2 blockers. The death rates were 387 per 1,000 and 342 per 1,000 respectively. The leading cause of death for these patients was cardiovascular disease, followed by chronic kidney disease, and gastrointestinal cancer. These adverse effects were observed even at low doses and among patients with no medical need for the drugs. Notably, a previous history of these conditions did not affect the relationship between PPI use and the respective risk of death.

This study supports previous research in this area, which had associated heartburn medicine with risk of premature death. The study authors recommend to avoid taking these drugs if not medically necessary, and to limit their use to the minimum dose and duration required. Taking these medications unnecessarily may be more harmful than helpful in the long term.

Written by Agustin Dominguez Iino, BSc

Xie Y et al. Estimates of all cause mortality and cause specific mortality associated with proton pump inhibitors among US veterans: cohort study. BMJ. 2019 May 29;365:l1580. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l1580.

Photo by from Pexels

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Zantac vs Prilosec: Main Differences and Similarities

Major pharmacies pulled Zantac from shelves. Read more about the recall here.

Zantac (ranitidine) and Prilosec (omeprazole) are two brand name medications that can treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Zantac works as a histamine H2 antagonist and Prilosec works as a proton pump inhibitor. Although they both work differently, they produce similar effects such as reduced stomach acid. Their similarities and differences will be reviewed here.


Zantac is the brand name for ranitidine. As a histamine H2 antagonist, it blocks the production of acid by blocking histamine in the stomach. Other than GERD, Zantac is approved to treat stomach ulcers, erosive esophagitis, and other hypersecretory conditions.

Zantac is available as a 75 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg oral tablet. It is usually taken once or twice per day depending on the condition being treater. Symptom relief is usually felt within 24 hours of taking Zantac for GERD. Zantac is not usually recommended for long-term use.

Zantac may be need to be monitored in those with liver or kidney impairment.


Prilosec is the brand name for omeprazole. As a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), it works directly on acid pumps in the stomach to reduce acid production. Prilosec can treat stomach ulcers, erosive esophagitis, GERD, and other hypersecretory conditions. Prilosec can also treat H. pylori infections as well as Barrett’s esophagus.

Prilosec is available as a 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg delayed-release capsule. An oral suspension is also available in 2.5 mg and 10 mg single dose packets. Like Zantac, Prilosec may take at least 24 hours for full symptom relief.

Prilosec can be dosed once or twice per day up to 8 weeks or more depending on the condition being treated. Dosage adjustments may be needed in those with kidney problems.

Zantac vs Prilosec Side by Side Comparison

Zantac and Prilosec are medications that can produce similar effects. While they are similar in some ways, they are also very different. Their features can be found in the comparison table below.

Zantac Prilosec
Prescribed For
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastric hypersecretion
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Duodenal ulcers
  • Erosive esophagitis
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gastric hypersecretion
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • H. pylori infection
  • Barrett’s esophagus
Drug Classification
  • Histamine (H2) Blocker
  • Proton Pump Inhibitor
  • Sanofi
  • AstraZeneca
Common Side Effects
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Rash
  • Fever
Is there a generic?
  • Yes, ranitidine
  • Yes, omeprazole
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral tablet
  • Oral capsule
  • Oral powder for suspension
  • Oral solution
  • Oral syrup
  • Injection solution
  • Oral tablet, delayed release
  • Oral capsule, delayed release
  • Oral powder for suspension
Average Cash Price
  • $390 per 60 tablets (150 mg)
  • $58.44 per 30 tablets (20 mg)
SingleCare Discount Price
  • Zantac Price
  • Prilosec Price
Drug Interactions
  • Procainamide
  • Warfarin
  • Atazanavir
  • Delavirdine
  • Gefitinib
  • Erlotinib
  • Glipizide
  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Midazolam
  • Triazolam
  • Rilpivirine
  • Warfarin
  • Atazanavir
  • Methotrexate
  • Clopidogrel
  • Erlotinib
  • Citalopram
  • Ketoconazole
  • Cilostazol
  • Phenytoin
  • Diazepam
  • Digoxin
  • Iron salts
  • Clarithromycin
  • Tacrolimus
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Zantac is in Pregnancy Category B. It does not pose a risk for fetal harm. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Prilosec is in Pregnancy Category C. Not enough research has been performed in humans. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take if planning pregnancy or breastfeeding.


Zantac (ranitidine) and Prilosec (omeprazole) are two drugs that can treat GERD and other gastrointestinal conditions. Zantac is a histamine antagonist while Prilosec is a proton pump inhibitor. While they work in different ways, both drugs can decrease acid production that is responsible for acid reflux.

Both Zantac and Prilosec can be purchased over the counter. They both have similar side effects such as abdominal discomfort or diarrhea. However, these side effects are usually minimal and decrease over time. As a PPI, omeprazole may have a higher risk of adverse effects such as C. diff infection.

Both drugs produce symptom relief within 24 hours. While they can help treat GERD and other conditions, they should not be used long-term or longer than necessary. It is important to talk with your doctor about these medications if you have GERD. One medication may be better for depending on your symptoms and other medications you take.

The Long Term Effects of Heartburn

In this article we’ll look at what heartburn is and why it occurs. Many people wonder how long heartburn may last and whether it will have any effect on their future health. So, we will also address the long term effects of heartburn. First of all, though, let’s remind ourselves…

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is a hot, burning sensation in your chest from when stomach acid rises into your food pipe (oesophagus). It often occurs due to a weakened lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) – the ring of muscle between your oesophagus and stomach. Stomach acid can rise without you realising as it doesn’t always necessarily cause the pain of heartburn and can depend on the amount of acid and / or how sensitive your oesophagus lining is.

The lining of your oesophagus isn’t designed to protect against stomach acid – unlike the lining in your stomach. Therefore, if acid comes into contact with it, pain may result.

Heartburn is often described as:

  • A hot pain or burning sensation in the chest area, often behind the breastbone and / or at the back of the throat
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • An acidic taste that may or may not be accompanied by a feeling of sickness

Why does heartburn happen?

Heartburn can occur for different reasons. Firstly, it could be because the ring of muscle at the bottom of your oesophagus is weak and is unable to keep your stomach contents (including the acid) in place.

Secondly, it may be due to dietary and lifestyle factors, as described below:

Food-related reasons, such as eating:

  • Large or irregular meals or eating on the run
  • Fatty foods, spicy foods, chocolate, mint or foods that contain tomatoes

Drink-related reasons, such as drinking:

  • Citrus juices or very hot drinks
  • Caffeine-based drinks
  • Alcohol (especially if you have too much and / or too quickly)

Other reasons:

  • Smoking
  • Being a little overweight
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes and/or pressure of a baby on the digestive tract and stomach, during pregnancy
  • Some medicines have heartburn as a noted side effect
  • Wearing clothes that are tight around your waist and abdomen

The triggers of heartburn differ from person to person and the symptoms can differ too. They may also be a combination of the causes listed above but can heartburn affect your health in the longer term?

The wide-ranging effects of long-term heartburn

Most people only suffer from heartburn occasionally and may just let it pass or take some medication to help relieve symptoms.

Simply putting up with your heartburn and allowing it to go untreated, however, may have certain implications.

Disturbed sleep: If you get heartburn at night, especially if it happens regularly, your sleep quality could be poor. If this is the case, it may have an impact on your concentration, decision making, work and family life the next day. You may disturb your partner’s sleep too.

Damage to your oesophagus: If stomach acid repeatedly comes into contact with your oesophagus, the sensitive lining can become damaged. The acid can erode the tissue. This may lead to bleeding and / or ulcers (open sores on the oesophageal lining).

In some cases, long-term exposure of the oesophageal lining to stomach acid can lead to a condition known as Barrett’s oesophagus – where abnormal cells develop in the lining. These cells could potentially become cancerous.1 Thankfully, this is rare.

Most people however, do not put up with symptoms at all, or for very long. They may take medication themselves or consult their doctor. Several treatments are available over the counter and this can often be the first port of call for many heartburn sufferers.

Treating heartburn

In addition to any treatment you may consider, it’s a good idea to note the dietary and lifestyle related reasons why heartburn may occur – as shown above. Taking these points into account may help you to prevent heartburn in the first place.

However, while you are making or considering dietary and lifestyle changes, you could continue to experience heartburn. If so, you may feel you need treatment for the symptoms. Why not consider Gaviscon Double Action?

Gaviscon Double Action

Gaviscon Double Action gets to work instantly. Its double action involves neutralising the unwanted, excess acid and also forming a protective barrier, or raft, on the top of your stomach contents.

This physical barrier helps to keep stomach contents and acid in place. Gaviscon Double Action can provide effective, long-lasting relief. In fact, Gaviscon lasts up to twice as long as some other treatments known as antacids.

Double Action Gaviscon can be purchased over the counter from pharmacies. If you follow the link, you can find out more about Gaviscon. The whole range of products can be found here.

Long term treatments

If you are suffering chronic heartburn, you should consider seeing your doctor. There are several treatment options available, which may help you in the long term. They may decide to prescribe medication that needs to be taken daily over the course of a few weeks or months. Another treatment they may prescribe is acid suppressants to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces, in order to prevent heartburn occurring.

Heartburn doesn’t need to be a long term problem. Simply try to take the advice in this article on how to prevent and treat heartburn. If you are concerned that your symptoms are not improving, visit your pharmacist or GP for more information.

All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Gaviscon Double Action for Heartburn & Indigestion. Always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should consult a doctor or pharmacist.


It’s usual to take Gaviscon up to 4 times a day.

It’s best to take it after meals and at bedtime.

This is usually when the pain and discomfort is worst.

If your doctor has prescribed Gaviscon, take it when they tell you to.

What are the side effects of taking Gaviscon?

Gaviscon Tablet, Chewable Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity

  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Feel Like Throwing Up.
  • Stomach Cramps.
  • Taste Problems.
  • Throwing Up.

How long can you take Gaviscon Advance for?

Liquid: Adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over should take 5-10ml after meals and at bedtime as needed, up to four times a day. Tablets: Adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over should chew one to two tablets after meals and at bedtime as needed, up to four times a day.

Can you drink water after taking Gaviscon?

Gaviscon comes as a chewable tablet and liquid to take by mouth. For the medication to work properly you need to chew the tablets thoroughly and you should not swallow them whole. Drink a full glass of water after taking the tablets. The liquid may be mixed with water or milk.

Can you take Gaviscon with omeprazole?

You can take omeprazole with an antacid (for example, Gaviscon) if you need to, but leave a gap of 2 hours between them.

When should you not take Gaviscon?

Some medicines must not be taken at the same time as Gaviscon. This is because the medicines can interfere with each other. Do not take Gaviscon within 2 hours before or after taking: antihistamines.

Is Gaviscon safe for kidneys?

Gaviscon ®Advance should not be used as it contains potassium which may be restricted in renal disease. Remegel ® tablets which contain calcium carbonate can also be taken occasionally provided levels of calcium in the blood are not raised above normal.

Is Gaviscon Advance better than Gaviscon?

Gaviscon Advance contains alginates in a highly concentrated form. A smaller number of studies looked specifically at Gaviscon Advance. This study has shown that the medication reduces GERD symptoms more effectively than placebo.

What is the best antacid?

Our Top Picks

  1. Best Overall: TUMS Ultra Strength 1000 Assorted Tropical Fruit Antacid.
  2. Best Heartburn Relief: Alka-Seltzer Relief Chews Heartburn Assorted Fruit.
  3. Best Liquid Antacid: Mylanta Maximum Strength Antacid, Classic Flavor, 12 Ounce.
  4. Best Chewable Antacid: SoundHealth Extra Strength Antacid Chews.

Is Gaviscon good for ulcers?

There are a number of effective medications for peptic ulcers: Antacids (e.g. Rennies, Gaviscon or Milk of Magnesia) are often the first line of treatment. They provide temporary relief from the pain by neutralising stomach acids. When taken in high doses they can also help speed up the healing of ulcers.

What to do after taking Gaviscon?

Chew 2-4 tablets after meals and at bedtime as needed (up to 4x a day), or as directed by a doctor. For best results follow by a half glass of water or other liquid. Do not take more than 16 Regular Strength tablets in 24 hours.

Is Gaviscon liquid discontinued?

Gaviscon (sodium alginate and sodium bicarbonate; Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare) liquid 500ml prescription pack (peppermint and aniseed flavours) will be discontinued from 4 June. Gaviscon Advance liquid prescription packs will remain available.

Does Gaviscon make you constipated?

This medication can cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or headache. If these symptoms persist or become severe, notify your doctor. Using an antacid that contains only aluminum along with this product can help control diarrhea. The aluminum in this product can cause constipation.

Can omeprazole cause weight gain?

Q: Can Prilosec cause me to gain weight? A: For people taking Prilosec, weight gain was reported as a rare side effect of the medication, occurring in less than 1 percent of people.

What are the dangers of taking omeprazole?

Important warnings. Severe diarrhea warning: This drug may increase your risk of severe diarrhea. This may be caused by an infection in your intestine caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile. Call your doctor right away if you have watery diarrhea, stomach pain, and a fever that won’t go away.

Is it OK to take omeprazole long term?

Omeprazole controls acid production in the stomach only and does not affect the acid/alkaline balance of the body. The drug has been in use for some 10 years and appears to be safe for long term use. Most of the diseases that Omeprazole is prescribed for (e.g., ulcers, esophagitis) take longer than two weeks to treat.

Can Gaviscon Infant cause constipation?

Your child is unlikely to have any side-effects from gaviscon. Occasionally infants get a bit constipated (have difficulty doing a poo) as the gaviscon acts as a feed thickener.

Does Gaviscon help baby reflux?

Gaviscon Infant helps to prevent gastric regurgitation in infants where competence of the cardiac sphincter has not been fully established. The indications for use are gastric regurgitation, gastro-oesophageal reflux and reflux associated with hiatus hernia in infants and young children.

Is it better to take Zantac at night or in the morning?

It does not matter if you take it before, with or after food. If ranitidine is prescribed twice a day, the best time to take it is in the morning and at bedtime. If ranitidine is prescribed once daily, the best time to take it is at bedtime.

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Gaviscon, or aluminum with magnesium hydroxide, is an antacid medicine that is used to treat heartburn, gas and a sour stomach, as well as acid indigestion. It also can be taken to treat or prevent other conditions that involve excess stomach acid such as peptic ulcer disease and hiatal hernia. This medication contains aluminum; therefore, side effects may occur in addition to the typically mild or commonly reported outcomes related to this drug.


According to, gastrointestinal problems are the most commonly reported type of side effect associated with this medication. For example, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and vomiting may be experienced while taking this drug. In situations where diarrhea and constipation both are experienced or closely alternate, dropping down to lower doses generally will ease these symptoms. Other related side effects that may occur consist of stomach cramps, a chalky aftertaste and an increased sense of being thirsty. A more serious, yet rare side effect is that of developing a bowel obstruction due to aluminum effects.


In general, side effects caused by Gaviscon can be very severe due to the ingredient of aluminum. Many individuals may accumulate high levels of aluminum, especially those who take high doses of this medication daily. Most of the aluminum is eliminated from the body by the gastrointestinal tract, yet aluminum absorption as well as increased levels in the blood have been documented. Long-term use of aluminum drugs can deposit aluminum in multiple places throughout the body.


Accumulated levels of aluminum can get deposited in the musculoskeletal system, for example, the bones and joints. As a consequence, severe side effects may result for those using high doses of Gaviscon. Osteomalacia, or softening of the bones, may occur due to the amount of aluminum in the bones, as well as bone and muscle pain and weakness. The weakened state of the bones and muscles increases the possibility of tears and fractures. Moreover, continued ingestion of aluminum and the continuing deposit into the musculoskeletal system may lead to the development of arthritis.


According to, aluminum can be deposited in the brain and produce mental changes and nervous system side effects such as encephalopathy. Associated encephalopathic symptoms may involve speech disorders, tremors or seizures and abnormal electroencephalograms. Hypotension, slowed breathing and, in extreme cases, coma or death may result. In rare instances, renal side effects such as kidney stones have occurred; specifically, the toxicity from high aluminum levels typically occurs in individuals with renal disorders who have problems with adequate elimination of waste products.

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