Gastritis treatment and medications
An appropriate treatment plan is directly linked to the cause of gastritis. For instance, if NSAID medications are determined as the cause of inflammation, avoiding them altogether may be enough to provide symptom relief (in mild / acute cases).
If a bacterial infection (such as H. pylori) is determined as the cause (such as in more chronic cases) antibiotics may be prescribed to clear up this cause of gastritis. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is important to take the full course recommended by your doctor (this can be for a period of between 10 and 14 days) to fully clear the infection.
In most cases of gastritis, medications can be used to treat stomach acid by reducing symptoms and to promote healing of inflammation in the stomach.
Other types of medication prescribed for gastritis treatment are:
- Antacids: These will be recommended for rapid-relief of pain or severe discomfort. Antacids work by neutralising acid in the stomach, but side effects such as diarrhoea or constipation can occur (depending on the main ingredients in the chosen antacid). Many are available over the counter at your local pharmacy.
- Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs):These medications work by blocking cells that cause stomach acid. Common medications prescribed are Prilosec (omeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole) or Nexium (esomeprazole). Long-term use of these medications, and particularly at high doses, can lead to an increased risk of fractures commonly occurring in the spine, hips and wrist. A calcium supplement can also be recommended as a way of reducing this risk (if necessary). The risk of fracture is undefined.
- Acid reducing medications / acid blockers (histamine / H-2 blockers): These medications (over-the-counter and prescription) are recommended as a means of reducing the amount of acid in your stomach that is released into the digestive tract. These medications can also help provide relief from any pain or discomfort associated with gastritis, allowing your stomach lining to heal (clearing inflammation).
Gastritis will generally clear completely once the underlying aggravation is discontinued or disappears. It is highly advisable to talk to your doctor before stopping any medications or starting any gastritis treatment on your own.