Are We Treating Heartburn Right?
If you regularly experience heartburn, chances are you’ll have a good idea what causes it and how to avoid these triggers on a daily basis. Maybe you stay away from certain foods, keep stress levels down or cut back on smoking, and if that burning sensation does ‘pop up’ you might reach for an antacid. Either way, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of lifestyle changes and reactive treatments that might temporarily keep the burn at bay but do little to help longer term. The result is you may be a step behind, hoping you won’t have a flare up at that dinner party or hunting through someone’s medicine cabinet if you do.
The good news is there is a way to free yourself from heartburn longer term and it doesn’t involve radically changing lifestyle nor short-acting treatments. It’s called a proton pump inhibitor, or PPI for short, and it’s a well-established form of treatment you’ll find at almost any pharmacy. A PPI works by turning off the many thousands of tiny acid-producing pumps in your stomach. Less acid means there’s less chance it can rise up and irritate the soft tissue in the oesophagus which causes that burning feeling. But here’s the thing about PPI treatments - while they provide long lasting pain relief, their real strength lies in helping prevent pain in the first place. In fact, some PPI's like Losec®, a pioneer in this field, may help you stay symptom free for up to 3 months1 by taking one tablet a day for two weeks. This is what’s known as the ‘1,2,3 rule’.
So how do you know if a PPI like Losec® is right for you? Well, it depends how often you experience heartburn. If you experience it more than once a week Losec® could be a good option and all you have to do is head to your pharmacy, no prescription required. Of course, there are times when Losec® might not be the right way to go, especially if you get heartburn almost every day or close to it. This is when it’s best to see your doctor just in case there’s something else going on.
If living with heartburn is becoming a pain in more ways than one, look for Losec®. If it’s right for you, you might find being heartburn free is as easy as 1,2,3.
1Fendrick et al. (2004) Self-Selection and Use Patterns of Over-the-Counter Omeprazole for Frequent Heartburn. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2:17-21 Losec and MUPS are registered trade marks of the AstraZeneca group of companies. Losec is a Pharmacy Only Medicine. Each Losec tablet contains 10mg omeprazole and each Losec Extra tablet contains 20mg omeprazole. For the short-term relief of reflux-like symptoms. Losec: Take 2 tablets once daily and reduce to one tablet daily when symptoms improve. Losec Extra: Take 1 tablet daily. Not to be used if under 18 years old, in presence of alarm symptoms or if pregnant. Please refer to the label or Consumer Medicine Information for further information. Always read the label and follow the instructions. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional. Bayer New Zealand Limited, Auckland. DA 2043AH L.NZ.MKTG.08.2020.05408