Multiple drugs to manage heartburn?
September 19, 2007 11:13 AM   Subscribe

GERDfilter: Is it bad to take prevacid AND tums?

I'm 20 years old, and a fairly high level of stress (college and family related) means I've had chronic heartburn for a month or two. My doc back home prescribed me prevacid (I was on another PPI for a week or so last spring). Prevacid is working for me pretty well, but if I'm not careful about caffeine intake or other dietary stuff, it still bothers me some at night.

So my question is: can I use Tums to manage flare-up kind of stuff while still taking the prevacid, or will they nullify one another or completely hose my digestive system?

If it's relevant, I'm on Soladyn to manage acne. Oh, also, I was tested negative for h. priorli (or whatever that bacteria is that can contribute to ulcers),
posted by dismas to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, most heartburn medications are very well tolerated.
posted by geoff. at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2007

While Tums neutralizes stomach acid, Prevacid blocks the actual production of stomach acid. You can take both at the same time, but you should call your doctor if you are still feeling discomfort-- even if it's only at night. He or she might decide to increase your dosage.

The presence of acid in your esophagus will damage it over time, leading to a host of other problems.
posted by peacecorn at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: Yes, such drugs are commonly used concurrently. It is of concern that you have this issue at such a young age, especially to the degree that you do. Hopefully your doctor already mentioned not to drink alcohol, not to eat close to bed time, and losing weight (if that is an issue) as further ways to control this. It can also help to raise your upper body a bit with one of those huge wedge pillows, or when it is really bad to sleep in a recliner.

Two folk remedies that work for some people, an apple prior to bed (I know this violates the no food before bed rule) or a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar prior to bed. The latter one you can Google, the former does not appear to be so much on the internets. Anecdotally, they work for some people. They may not work for you, but there is little harm in trying.
posted by caddis at 12:18 PM on September 19, 2007

The presence of acid in your esophagus will damage it over time, leading to a host of other problems.

We're talking other problems like cancer here. Go see a doctor if you still have problems after taking the Prevacid for over a week or two.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:19 PM on September 19, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks guys.

I have a tendency to snack in the evenings, and I haven't been very careful about avoiding acidic/spicy foods etc.

Sounds like I should just be more careful about what I eat and see a doc if it continues to be a problem.
posted by dismas at 12:54 PM on September 19, 2007

Best answer: I've been taking a proton pump inhibitor for a while, which I believe prevacid is. When my problems first faired up it took a while for them to settle down, even taking the proton pump inhibitors and I had to take some anti-acids for a while. I also had to cut down a lot on how much I ate, cut out alcohol completely and cut down a lot on caffeine (I switched from black coffee to tea) for about 3 months. But things are just about back to normal now (though I still drink more tea than coffee)

It's worth trying a number of anti-acids as they do different things in different ways. Rennies work the best for me. (they are simply calcium carbonate tablets.

Also if things get bad you can take pain killers as well.

I found the old stand-by of a glass of warm milk can help too.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:01 PM on September 19, 2007

caddis: FYI, I used to frequently eat apples, but they actually TRIGGER stomach acid problems for me, fwiw. In fact, started acid reflux medicine as a direct result of apples. (I never heard of that particular folk remedy, but in my case nothing could possibly be worse in my mind.)

If you can reduce eating after dinner, that should help a LOT. If it doesn't help, your doctor may prescribe a different acid reflux medicine such as Protonix or Nexium. I took Prevacid for several years on and off and it finally stopped working effectively for me. I'm on Protonix now.
posted by Doohickie at 1:09 PM on September 19, 2007

Also if things get bad you can take pain killers as well.

Bear in mind that there is some evidence that many varieties of painkiller (particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, like Ibuprofen and aspirin) cause gastrointestinal distress - ie. are liable to cause or worsen gastric ulcers - so it may be worth avoiding these, although the risks seem to be linked to dosage and term of use.

As far as I can tell from the interwebs (IAsooooNAD) paracetamol is the safest bet, in the circumstances.
posted by kxr at 3:09 PM on September 19, 2007

DGL is another possibility for you. Myself, I had nexium for a while, and when I went off, the heart burn came on with twice the fury. This stuff - gentler, cheaper, easy to discontinue when your life settles down. (Can take a few weeks of religous usage to get the proper effect, but worth a try, perhaps.)

I, too, ANAD, and of course your MMV.

Good luck. Nasty kind of situation you're in.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:20 PM on September 19, 2007

I always used a PPI (I used prilosec and then nexium) + tylenol + zantac. Zantac and PPIs don't conflict and the combo is more effective than antiacids. I was 20 when the problem started and it was incredibly awful. I felt like it wasn't something a skinny 20 year old should have.

I think mine was caused by taking ibuprofen like whoa because I was stressed and got headaches a lot. Bad idea. I never got an endoscopy, but doctors suspected an ulcer.

I was on the PPI regimen for six months until it basically stopped working. Plus I didn't like the idea of my stomach acid being suppressed for such a long time...since it does serve a purpose. I then tried natural remedies like chewing gum and drinking a dilution of apple cider vinegar. Those worked OK, but it still was a problem.

Finally I came across this paper and changed my diet to basically the opposite of the typically recommended heartburn diet: low carb, high fat/protein. Either it worked or my stomach healed on its own, because now it's pretty much gone as I long as most of my diet is "good." Now I can drink an occasional coffee or a beer and not die. It's nice.
posted by melissam at 6:55 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

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