Merck Manual

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Medications Used to Treat Stomach Acid

Medications Used to Treat Stomach Acid

Type of Medication

Some Side Effects



  • Aluminum hydroxide

  • Calcium carbonate

  • Magnesium hydroxide

  • Sodium bicarbonate

Aluminum hydroxide: Nausea, headache, weakness, loss of appetite, and constipation

Magnesium hydroxide: Diarrhea

These drugs are used mainly to relieve symptoms, not as a cure.

Histamine-2 (H2) blockers

  • Cimetidine

  • Famotidine

  • Nizatidine

Rash, fever, diarrhea, muscle pains, and confusion

The once-daily dose is taken in the evening or at bedtime. Doses taken in the morning are less effective.

Proton pump inhibitors

  • Esomeprazole

  • Lansoprazole

  • Omeprazole

  • Pantoprazole

  • Rabeprazole

Diarrhea, constipation, and headache

These medications are usually well tolerated and are most effective means of reducing stomach acid.

Other medications for stomach acid

  • Misoprostol

  • Sucralfate

Misoprostol: Abdominal cramping, spontaneous abortion, diarrhea

Sucralfate: May reduce absorption of other medications, constipation

Misoprostol is rarely used for treatment of stomach disorders due to the side effects.

Sucralfate does not affect acid production but coats stomach ulcers to protect them from acid.