Pharmacists' Guide to the Best Over-the-Counter Remedies

Check out the top picks for 15 common concerns, from heartburn to sunburn and everything in between (16 Photos)

Jill Provost on Jul 22, 2011 at 10:00AM

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Pharmacists' Guide to the Best Over-the-Counter Remedies

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Stay Well Secret: Put a Damper on Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Don’t let the fear of heartburn ruin a fabulous meal. If you get heartburn once a week or less, and know which foods trigger symptoms, pop an acid blocker before you eat for prevention. Pharmacist’s Picks: To keep acid indigestion at bay, Jan Engle, Pharm.D., FAPhA, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy, recommends taking famotidine (Pepcid AC) 15-60 minutes before eating. Famotidine products are safer than other acid blockers because they have fewer potentially dangerous drug interactions, she says. If you need fast-acting relief, try a dual-action product that combines famotidine with an antacid (Pepcid Complete). Antacids kick in within five to 10 minutes, but last just a few hours. Famotidine can take an hour to work, but lasts up to 12 hours. A combination product will give you immediate relief that lasts until you go to sleep. If you get heartburn frequently (twice a week or more), Engle recommends Prilosec OTC. Taken once a day for 14 days, it may wipe out symptoms for good. If your acid reflux or heartburn returns, see a doctor to make sure it's nothing serious.

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