Medicine for stomach pain, such as sodium bicarbonate, omeprazole or cimetidine, can help to reduce pain and burning, as they act by inhibiting the production of acid, or neutralizing the acidity in the stomach. Some may also increase the speed at which the stomach empties.
Stomach pain is usually caused by excess acid production, excess gas, gastritis, stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux or eating contaminated food. In addition to stomach pain, these conditions can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Read more about what can cause stomach pain.
Treatment for stomach pain with medication should be guided by a gastroenterologist and will depend on the underlying cause. These drugs can cause side effects such as increased blood pressure, kidney problems, headaches or even cardiac arrhythmia.
Stomach pain medication
The most commonly prescribe medicine for stomach pain include:
1. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate is an antacid that quickly neutralizes stomach acid. It temporarily relieves stomach pain, heartburn or burning caused by indigestion, gastritis or gastroesophageal reflux.
How to take: Take half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate and dilute it in a glass of water. You should not exceed 3 teaspoons a day. It can be used for a maximum of 2 weeks, as excessive use can cause rebound acidity, which is when the stomach increases acid production when it detects low acid levels.
Sodium bicarbonate should not be used by children under 2 years old, pregnant women, or people with alkalosis, vomiting or intestinal obstruction.
2. Aluminum hydroxide
Aluminum hydroxide is another fast-acting antacid that helps relieve stomach pain and symptoms related to poor digestion, gastritis or stomach ulcers. It is effective for relieve fullness, heartburn, burning or excessive gas or belching.
This antacid can be found in the form of tablets or oral suspension, and is also available in combination with other antacids such as magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate.
Aluminum hydroxide alone or in combination with other substances should be taken for a short period of time, for a maximum of 2 weeks. It can cause side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, increased blood pressure or kidney problems.
How to take: The recommended dose for adults is 10 mL of aluminum hydroxide suspension, or as advised by your doctor.
Aluminum hydroxide should not be used by children under 12 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women or people with severe kidney failure, intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, bleeding in the stomach or intestines, hemorrhoids or hypochlorhydria, for example.
3. Milk of magnesia
Milk of magnesia is an antacid containing magnesium hydroxide, which helps to reduce stomach acid. It relieves symptoms like stomach pain, heartburn and burning sensations caused by indigestion.
This medicine can be found in the form of an oral suspensions.
How to take: The recommended dose for adults or children over 12 is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) to 1 tablespoon (15 mL), up to 3 times a day, or as advised by a doctor.
Milk of magnesia should not be taken by children under 2 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people with kidney disease or who are allergic to magnesium hydroxide or any other component in the formula.
Simethicone is a remedy indicated to help relieve stomach pain caused by excess gas. It acts by breaking up the bubbles that trap gas, facilitating its elimination and relieving the feeling of a bloated stomach, discomfort or pressure caused by excess gas in the stomach or intestines.
This medicine can be found in the form of tablets, drop solution or soft capsules, to be administered orally.
How to take The recommended dose for adults is one 40 mg tablet, taken orally up to 3 times a day, after meals, as advised by a doctor.
Simethicone should not be used if you are allergic to the components in its formula, nor in cases of intestinal obstruction or bowel perforation. Furthermore, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, simethicone should only be used as per medical advice.
Omeprazole is a medicine that interferes with acid production in the stomach. It helps to reduce stomach pain, burning or excessive belching caused by gastritis, gastric ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux or reflux esophagitis.
This medicine can be found in capsule form and should be used as prescribed, as the doses and treatment time vary according to the stomach problem being treated.
How to take: Omeprazole should be taken in the morning, before meals. For the treatment of stomach ulcers, the recommended dose for adults is 20 mg, once a day, or as advised by a doctor.
Omeprazole should not be used by children under 1 year old, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people with severe liver problems or who are allergic to the components in the capsules.
In addition to omeprazole, other medicine that inhibits stomach acid production that your doctor may prescribe are: lanzoprazole, esomeprazole, or pantoprazole.
Cimetidine is a medicine that helps reduce stomach pain caused by ulcers in the stomach or duodenum, peptic esophagitis, Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome or heartburn.
This medication acts by inhibiting the production of acid in the stomach, by binding to receptors in stomach cells to prevent he action of histamine. Histamine, when activated, increases stomach acid production.
Cimetidine can be found in tablet form and doses vary according to the condition being treated. Therefore it should be taken as prescribed by the doctor.
How to take: For stomach ulcers, the doses normally recommended for adults are 800 mg, in a single dose, in the evening, before going to bed, or one 400 mg tablet taken twice a day, at breakfast and at bedtime.
Cimetidine should not be used by children under 1 year old, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people who have asthma, heart disease, malignant gastric ulcers or who are being treated with the drug dofetilide.
In addition to cimetidine, other drugs that inhibit histamine action that can be prescribed by a doctor are nizatidine or famotidine.
Domperidone is a medicine that speeds up gastric emptying by stimulating movement in the stomach and intestines. It is indicated for stomach pain caused by conditions related to delayed gastric emptying, such as indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux.
This medicine can be found in tablet or oral suspension form.
Domperidone should only be used as prescribed for periods of less than a week, as it can cause side effects such as headache, drowsiness, restlessness, depression, anxiety, diarrhea, breast enlargement, best tenderness, milk production, amenorrhea, or muscle weakness.
How to take: The recommended dose for adults and adolescents over 12 years old, weighing more than 35 kg is one 10mg tablet, 3 times a day, as prescribed by a doctor.
Domperidone should not be used by babies or children under the age of 12, or by people who have any kind of gastrointestinal hemorrhage, bleeding, obstruction or perforation. It should also be avoided during pregnancy, and use during lactation should only be recommended by a doctor.
Other medicines that help to speed up the emptying of the stomach that can be recommended by a doctor are: metoclopramide and cisapride.
Sucralfate is a stomach protector indicated for stomach pain and burning in cases of chronic gastritis or ulcers in the stomach or duodenum. It acts by forming a mucus that serves as a protective barrier in the stomach, preventing acid from damaging the stomach wall.
This medication should only be used as prescribed as it can cause side effects such as dark stools, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain after eating, constipation, excessive gas, lumps on the skin or psychotic disorders.
Sucralfate can be found in the form of flacons or chewable tablets and is contraindicated for pregnant women, nursing mothers, children or people who are allergic to the components of the formula.
How to take: Sucralfate should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour before eating, and doses vary according to the condition being treated. Therefore it should only be taken as prescribed.
In addition to sucralfate, another gastric protector that your doctor may recommend is bismuth salts.
Clarithromycin combined with amoxicillin or metronidazole, and a proton pump blocker such as omeprazole or esomeprazole, for example, is an antibiotic that can be prescribed by a doctor to treat cases of stomach ulcers or gastritis caused by H. pylori infections.
These antibiotics should only be taken as prescribed, once the infection is confirmed, through evaluation of symptoms and testing. Learn morea about H. pylori symptoms and how to detect them.
How to take: Clarithromycin, combined with amoxicillin and omeprazole, should be taken orally. The recommended doses for adults are 1 capsule of omeprazole, 2 capsules of amoxicillin and 1 tablet of clarithromycin, morning and evening, before meals, for 1 week of treatment or as advised by a doctor.
Antibiotics can cause side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting, poor digestion, nausea, abdominal pain, skin reactions, headache, taste changes and insomnia, and are only available with a doctor's prescription.
Home remedies for stomach pain
Home remedies for stomach pain, such as sea buckthorn, mastic, lettuce, dandelion or mugwort teas, for example, can help reduce acidity or inflammation in the stomach, and can be used to complement the treatment prescribed by your doctor.
These home remedies are a great option to help manage pain or burning in the stomach and can be taken 3 to 4 times a day, preferably on an empty stomach and between meals.
In addition, you should reduce stress, eat a diet with reduced sweets, fats and fried foods. You should avoid soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, as well as avoid smoking.