What’s the difference between an antacid and an acid suppressor?

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An antacid is a buffer that helps to neutralize acid in the stomach or acid that has refluxed into the esophagus. Its main purpose is to counteract the effect of acid that has already been produced. By contrast, an acid suppressor, like H2 blockers or PPIs, helps to turn off production of acid by the stomach.


About the expert: Goutham Rao, M.D., is clinical director at the Weight Management and Wellness Center, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (of UPMC); associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (UPMC); and family physician at Bloomfield-Garfield Family Health Center in Pittsburgh.

Rao has served as director of medical informatics at UPMC St. Margaret Hospital. He is course director for introduction to medical decision-making at the UPMC, associate editor at the American College of Physicians Journal Club, and editorial board member and acquisitions editor at the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Home Study Self-Assessment (HSSA) program in Kansas City, Mo. Rao serves as assistant editor of the Journal of Family Practice and editorial board member of Family Medicine. Rao has also served as a member of the American Gastroenterological Association Institute/Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement®/National Committee for Quality Assurance GERD standards committee.


The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis or recommended treatments. OTC PPIs are only indicated for treatment of frequent heartburn. For severe heartburn or heartburn that persists after trying over-the-counter treatment or lifestyle modifications, visit your doctor to determine the right treatment for you. See the Terms and Conditions for more information.