What are Ulcers?

Peptic ulcers are open sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or the first part of the small intestine, known as the duodenum. Over 25 million Americans will suffer from an ulcer at some point during their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How do you treat Ulcers?

Treatment of stomach ulcers consists of killing H. pylori and decreasing the amount of acid in the stomach. This requires several types of medications.

Physicians may prescribe several antibiotics at once, or use a combination drug such as Helidac to kill H. pylori. Helidac contains two antibiotics along with an acid-reducing drug and a medication that protects stomach tissue.

The doctors will also try to stop other medications the patient is taking and might have a role in worsening the ulcers.

“Most of the time, we try to withdraw the offending medication, but that is not always possible, for example patients on aspirin who have heart arrhythmias, or recent heart stents,” Swaminath said.

“We put patients on high doses of the drug for eight weeks by which time the area will typically heal,” Swaminath said. “A low dose is continued indefinitely if the offending medication can’t be discontinued.”

Drugs called acid blockers (for example, Pepcid) and antacids may be recommended to decrease the levels of stomach acid. Other medicines, called proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec and Prevacid, are another option. They work by blocking cellular pumps that release acid into the stomach.

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