How do GERD medications work?

GERD medications can do one or more of the following:

  • increase the strength and speed of esophageal contractions to move food to your stomach
  • increase the pressure of your lower esophageal sphincter so it closes properly
  • decrease stomach acid production
  • neutralize acid in your stomach
  • mix with saliva to form a protective barrier on top of stomach acids
  • increase the strength of stomach contractions to move the contents to your intestines

Several types of medications can be used to treat GERD. Your doctor will recommend the most appropriate one based on the severity of your symptoms and any complications. See What is the specific type of GERD medication I'm taking? to learn more about the specific type you take.