Many over the counter products (OTC) contain aspirin, including medications for the relief of heartburn. This has prompted the FDA to issue a warning on these products that they may cause gastric bleeds.

Many patients are unaware of how many OTC products contain pain relievers such as aspirin, and are also taking the product for other reasons such as headaches, pains or injuries, and heart disease management. Also, the risk for bleeds increases greatly if the patient is also consuming alcohol every day.

Heartburn medications that fall under the new FDA warnings are sold both as generic and brand name products. The new warning covers products that effervesce - Alka-Seltzer Original, Bromo-Selzer, and other similar items. A previous warning in 2009 required products that contain NSAIDS (brand name Motrin, Advil, Aleve) be labeled as causing a serious risk of bleeding. With this new warning what should you do as a consumer?

  1. Don’t use OTC medications for long periods of time without being under the supervision of a physician.

  2. Read labels! OTC medications are powerful drugs and may interfere or react badly with prescription medications. If you are unsure of how a medication may react with your prescriptions ask your pharmacist.

  3. Be aware of layering medications - if you take a daily aspirin for heart disease management, speak to your doctor about how to handle the occasional aches and pains that cause you to reach for the medicine cabinet.

  4. Always disclose alcohol usage and OTC medicine usage to your physician.

The doctors at GI Associates will expertly help you manage your heartburn pain, and you don’t need a referral to see one of our specialists. Make an appointment today and take control of your symptoms.

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