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Your stomach makes powerful acids to process foods; for instance, acids such as hydrochloric acid in your gastric tract helps keep pathogens away. Inner linings of your stomach are protected from such harsh acids; however, the walls of your food pipe (esophagus) do not have this protection. So, when strong acids of your stomach come in contact with the food pipe, it leads to a condition called acid reflux. You need to know which is better for acid reflux – proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or acid reducer? It is of help to have needful information on this.

A muscular ring called gastroesophageal sphincter (a type of valve) ensures acids present in your stomach from moving backwards into the food pipe. As you become old or when you eat large-sized meals, this sphincter/valve may lose its tightness. This action lets acids to enter back into your food pipe. It causes an irritation as acids come in touch with the unprotected walls of the esophagus. In essence, this is called acid reflux.

Common risk factors for the onset of acid reflux are being overweight/obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking too much of tobacco products, use of drugs such as calcium channel blockers – CCBs, antidepressant meds, antihistamines, painkilling meds, etc. In some cases, pregnant women may also witness acid reflux and associated gastric discomforts.

What are proton pump inhibitors?

Drugs grouped under a family named proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are commonly prescribed for the treatment acid reflux. Generic drugs such as omeprazole, esomeprazole, etc. are member so this genre. Brands based on these generics are Prilosec (branded equivalent of omeprazole); Nexium is based on esomeprazole.

Proton pump inhibitors help reduce level of acids in the gastric tract. Reduced acid levels offer needful remedy to signs of acid reflux. Most characteristic signs are heartburn, pain at the rear side of breast bone, etc. These discomforts get worser when you are in a sleeping position.

What are acid reducers?

Acid reducers are also called H-2 blockers. Ranitidine is a widely used med; Zantac is a popular brand. Acid reducers inhibit a few types of histamines that in turn result in decreased acid production in your stomach.

Due to concerns like incidence of cancers, acid reducers such as Zantac are withdrawn from some markets including the US from 2020 onwards. Moreover, a few leading consuming regions – like the EU, Australia – to name a few, have also restricted the availability of select acid reducers.

Which is better for acid reflux – proton pump inhibitor (PPI) or acid reducer?

If you are witnessing a sudden spell of heartburn/acid reflux, your caregiving team is likely to prescribe an acid reducer. However, if episodes are showing up quit often, your doctor will administer a proton pump inhibitor.

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Owing to the short-action nature of acid reducers, you may witness the remedial effects to kick in in a few minutes. On the other hand, proton pump inhibitors do not yield immediate relief; you need to wait for 2-3 days to get a complete relief. Duration for which acid levels are kept under control varies in between these two genres. In case of proton pump inhibitors, acid levels are under control for nearly 22 hours i.e., if taken daily basis for 2 weeks. Acid reducers may exert control over acid levels for ~11 hours.

In order to know more about which is better for acid reflux – proton pump inhibitor or acid reducer, you are advised to talk to a healthcare professional. Though a few variants are available as OTC drugs, it is always safe to take either of these meds under the guidance of your treating doctor.


Information provided here are only of supplementary nature. Information shared here does not substitute a qualified doctor’s advice. This website is not suggesting intake of this drug as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before consuming this med or any other drug.

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