Medications that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach can relieve symptoms that may accompany gastritis and promote healing of the stomach lining. These medications include
- antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, Mylanta,Rolaids, and Rio-pan. Many brands on the market use different combinations of three basic salts—magnesium, calcium, and aluminum—with hydroxide or bicarbonate ions to neutralize the acid in the stomach. These drugs may produce side effects such as diarrhea or constipation.
- histamine 2 (H2) blockers, such as famotidine (Pepcid AC) and ranitidine (Zantac 75). H2 blockers decrease acid production. They are available both over the counter and by prescription.
- proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid), lansoprazole (Prevacid), pantoprazole (Protonix), rabeprazole (Aciphex), esomeprazole (Nexium), and dexlansoprazole (Kapidex). All of these drugs are available by prescription, and some are also available over the counter. PPIs decrease acid production more effectively than H2 blockers.
Depending on the cause of the gastritis, additional measures or treatments may be needed. For example, if gastritis is caused by prolonged use of NSAIDs, a doctor may advise a person to stop taking NSAIDs, reduce the dose of NSAIDs, or switch to another class of medications for pain. PPIs may be used to prevent stress gastritis in critically ill patients.
Treating H. pylori infections is important, even if a person is not experiencing symptoms from the infection. Untreated H. pylori gastritis may lead to cancer or the development of ulcers in the stomach or small intestine. The most common treatment is a triple therapy that combines a PPI and two antibiotics—usually amoxicillin and clarithromycin—to kill the bacteria. Treatment may also include bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) to help kill bacteria.
After treatment, the doctor may use a breath or stool test to make sure the H. pylori infection is gone. Curing the infection can be expected to cure the gastritis and decrease the risk of other gastrointestinal diseases associated with gastritis, such as peptic ulcer disease, gastric cancer, and MALT lymphoma.
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