Stomach Ulcer Medication
Typically, nearly all stomach ulcers are treated with medication. This medication does vary from region to region (and country to country) but the general class of medications and the theories for using them remain the same.
Type of Ulcer and Subsequent Medication
H pylori is a bacterium which causes most stomach ulcers. If an H pylori infection is present, most doctors will prescribe two antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor.
In most areas, the antibiotics of choice are typically metronidazole and clarithromycin, although prescriptions may vary. For the proton pump inhibitor, pantoprazole and lansoprazole are common prescriptions, although some doctors recommend omeprazole (available over the counter in the United States and many other countries) as it is oldest and most researched proton-pump inhibitor.
Drug interactions, allergies, and medication history may require that a certain antibiotic or proton-pump inhibitor is prescribed over another, so make sure you have seen a qualified medical professional for your prescription.
Be sure to mention any over the counter medications you take to the doctor as even OTC medications can interact negatively with prescription medication.
You may also want to ask your pharmacist about any possible interactions between your stomach ulcer medication and other medications. Most pharmacists are happy to help and in the USA pharmacists will answer your questions free of charge (unlike most doctors)!
Over the Counter Stomach Ulcer Medication
As mentioned previously, many over the counter stomach ulcer medications are not designed to treat stomach ulcers but rather soothe an upset stomach. The danger here is that these can often interact negatively with prescription medication.
A lot of stomach ulcer medication available OTC can actually block the absorption of prescription stomach ulcer medication. As a result, over-the-counter medications could cause your stomach ulcer medication not to work.
There have also been a lot of talk about manuka honey and its potential effects on stomach ulcers. Do not fall for this hype and try to use it in place of regular treatment; even if it does help suppress H pylori (a dubious claim), it is not going to completely eliminate an infection. See our article on manuka honey benefits for more details.
One supplement that is actually useful for stomach ulcer treatment is a good probiotic. The strong antibiotics used to battle H pylori also destroy the “healthy” bacteria which colonize the gastrointestinal tract. These healthy bacteria help break down food and release Vitamin K. Probiotics can help replace these lost bacteria. This is not a replacement for medical treatment but something that can help. See our H pylori diet article for more information and scientific research supporting the use of probiotics.
Stomach Ulcer Medication Conclusion
To summarize everything in three bullet points:
- Stomach ulcer medication typically consists of three prescriptions which include two antibiotics and one proton-pump inhibitor. This is known as triple therapy.
- The two most commonly used antibiotics are metronidazole and clarithromycin, while proton-pump inhibitors vary frequently. All medicines vary based on region and medical history.
- Probiotics are a useful supplement for those who undergo treatment for H pylori.
- Over-the-counter medications may interfere with prescription stomach ulcer medication, so be sure to mention any medications you are using to your doctor.