Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How do I use GERD medications safely?

        Health | GERD

Follow these guidelines when taking GERD medications.

  • Be patient - it can take 8 to 12 weeks before you have relief from your symptoms.
  • Make sure you tell your doctor about all other medicines, vitamins, or herbal remedies you take.
  • Don't stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor. Stopping could be harmful.
  • Ask your doctor if it's possible to minimize any side effects that may occur.

When used properly, GERD medications can be very effective and safe. Talk with your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Uncomfortable side effects. You can often reduce or eliminate side effects by changing how and when you take your medication or finding an alternative drug.
  • Trouble remembering to take your medication as prescribed. You need to take your medication at the same time every day. If you have trouble remembering, try pairing when you take it with another daily activity, such as brushing your teeth or taking your vitamins. Small pillboxes divided by days of the week are also helpful.
  • Embarrassment at having to take medication every day. Be assured that you are not alone. People with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma, often have to take medication every day, even several times a day. Rather than feeling self-conscious, find ways to take your medication more privately. Close your office door or take medications in a rest room at work or a bathroom at home.
  • Inability to take medications on time because of your activity schedule. If you find you're skipping doses because you're on the go or engaging in an activity that doesn't allow you to take your medication as directed, speak with your doctor. He or she may be able to adjust the schedule for you or prescribe a more flexible medication.
  • Uncertainty about what to do if you miss a dose. Because every medication works differently, you need to have a plan of action for missed doses. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about what you should do.

Whenever you take any kind of medication, make sure you:

  • Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about all over-the-counter, prescription, and herbal medicines; vitamins and other supplements; and any recreational drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco you take or use.
  • Take only the amount of the medication prescribed. Taking too much or too little can be harmful. Never give your medications to someone else or take their medications.
  • Let your doctor know how your medication is working and if you're experiencing any side effects.
  • Don't stop taking medication on your own without talking with your doctor.
  • Keep your medications in the original containers. Never put different medicines in the same container.
  • Keep a list of all medications you take in your wallet or purse.
  • Bring your medications and a copy of the prescriptions with you when you travel.
  • Keep all medications in a safe place away from children.