Why Breakfast is the Best Time to Take Heartburn Medication


When we think of medications that are designed to provide relief, it’s easy to automatically think you take them all when a problem starts.  For example, when you get a headache, you take a pain reliever to fix the problem as soon as possible.  Therefore, it’s easy to think that when you get heartburn, it’s best to take a drug like Nexium or Prilosec right after you experience the symptoms.

However, a recent study has given heartburn sufferers a greater understanding about how these drugs actually work.  It highlighted factors related to:

When the medication was taken
If it was bought over-the-counter or prescribed by a physician
What type of heartburn drugs are used

The study, which was posted in the June 2014 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology, found that only a third of people who were buying medications, were using them properly.  In doing so, heartburn symptoms remain and money is wasted.  More people were using them properly when they were prescribed by a doctor.

There are different types of heartburn medicine, and this study focused on what’s known as proton pump inhibitors.  The ideal time to take them is before breakfast because food helps activate the drugs.  They don’t generally provide immediate relief of heartburn (like antacids), and can take up to seven days before you start to feel the real benefits.

Dr. John Lipham, director of the Digestive Health Center at Keck Medicine at the University of Southern California, said people tend to put all heartburn drugs into the same category.  “But these [proton pump inhibitor] medicines don’t work that way,” he said. “They need to be stimulated by acid and need to build up in your system. You have to take them at the correct time each day and you also need to take them every day to get the maximum effectiveness of the medications.”

With breakfast being the ideal time to take the medication, you’ll want to pick out acid-inducing foods and drinks to make it work. This would include eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk or coffee.

If you’re taking heartburn/acid reflux medication and still experiencing severe symptoms, it’s important to get help. Proton Pump Inhibitors are not a long term solution. Call us at Houston Heartburn at 832-234-3100.