Medications can help in treating ulcer effectively. This article discusses them in detail.
Ulcers are open sores or lesions which develop in different areas of the body, and accordingly, they are attributed by different names. Ulcers which affect the inner lining of the stomach are known as stomach ulcers or gastric ulcers, and those which grow in the esophagus are known as esophageal ulcers. The duodenum is also affected, and in this case, they are known as duodenal ulcers. The ulcers in the stomach and duodenum are usually referred as peptic ulcers.
The most common symptom is burning pain in the abdomen. The pain can be felt originating from the areas that lie between the navel and breastbone. It may seem to last for a few minutes, and in some cases may even continue for several hours. The pain might also become worse when the stomach is empty. Most people experience relief from the pain upon eating certain foods or using acid-reducing medications. Other ulcer symptoms include the pain flaring up at night, and disappearing and recurring back for a few days or weeks.
The H. pylori bacteria is known to be the causative agent of ulcers in the body. So, the main aim of using ulcer pain medication is to eliminate the bacteria from the system. Also, the medication ensures the reduction of acid in the digestive system as this helps in relieving the burning pain. The medications for ulcer may involve the inclusion of two or more kinds of drugs.
The first kind of drugs includes a combination of antibiotics to get rid of the H. pylori bacteria. The standard drugs which are usually prescribed by doctors include:
- Amoxicillin (Amoxil)
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
- Metronidazole (Flagyl)
A combination of any two of these drugs along with acid suppressor might be administered to the patients. Depending on the type of the pathogen and its number, patients might be required to continue taking the medication for about two weeks.
The other kind of medication includes acid blockers. These drugs work to reduce the amount of hydrochloric acid released in the digestive tract. The hydrochloric acid is produced when a substance known as histamine reacts with a histamine receptor. The acid blockers keep the histamine from reaching the receptors and help in controlling the burning pain. Commonly prescribed or obtained over-the-counter ulcer medication for this purpose include:
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Nizatidine (Axid)
Antacids may be recommended to be taken in conjunction with acid blockers. These medicines do not reduce the acid secretion; however, they help neutralize the acid in the stomach and provide relief from the burning pain.
The stomach lining has tiny pumps which secrete stomach acid to break down food. Medications like proton pump inhibitors help shutdown the activity of these pumps. They include:
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Rabeprazole (Aciphex)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
There are some side effects which may arise with the use of the proton pump inhibitors. One of the side effect is hip fracture; however, it only arises due to long-term use of the medication.
The last type of medications are known as cytoprotective agents. These drugs, basically, are for protecting the tissues that line your stomach and small intestine. Prescription drugs include sucralfate (Carafate) and misoprostol (Cytotec), and the one which can be availed without prescription is subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).
In most of the cases, peptic ulcers are cured with antibiotics, antacids, and other drugs that reduce the production of acid in the stomach. Although ulcers are not too serious, they should be monitored by your doctor to minimize the risk of serious conditions such as anemia, profuse bleeding, and stomach cancer.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.