Understanding gastritis medication
Gastritis occurs when the stomach lining becomes inflamed (swollen and red). It can last for a short time then go away on its own, or it can last a long time.
Gastritis has several causes, including infection. Treatment will depend on the cause.
Sometimes the symptoms of gastritis can be eased by eating and drinking in ways that don’t irritate the stomach. These include:
- avoiding alcohol
- avoiding foods that cause pain
- eating smaller meals
- avoiding using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDS
However, sometimes medication is needed. Medication may be used to:
- reduce the production of stomach acid
- make the stomach less acidic
- treat an infection with Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, which is a common cause of gastritis
Types of gastritis medications
H2 blockers are medicines that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. They include cimetidine, nizatidine and famotidine.
Another H2 blocker called ranitidine has been suspended by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
For more information and the latest updates, see TGA's alert on ranitidine
Proton pump inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors also reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. They include omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole and pantoprazole.
Antacids work by neutralising stomach acid.
Helicobacter Pylori treatment
If you have Helicobacter Pylori, this may be treated with antibiotics such as Amoxycillin, Clarithromycin, Metronidazole, Tinidazole or Tetracycline. You will need to take these as well as medication to reduce acid. It is important to take the medications as instructed by your doctor and make sure you finish the full course of antibiotics.
Important information about gastritis medications
Proton pump inhibitors are very safe and effective for short-term use. But long-term use isn’t recommended for most people, especially older people. If you have been taking proton pump inhibitors for a long time, talk to your doctor about whether you can reduce your dose.
Antacids neutralise stomach acid but they can stop some other medications from working properly. They can also cause constipation or diarrhoea. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about this.
If you have gastritis, discuss with your doctor:
- the benefits of medicine for gastritis
- the risks of medicine
See your doctor if you vomit blood or notice dark blood in your stool (poo) as these may be signs of stomach bleeding.
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Last reviewed: January 2021