Heartburn. It used to be, the treatment was to avoid spicy foods and pop a lot of antacids. That was before drug companies discovered that a little indigestion could mean big money.
Consumer Reports has some advice on how to save yourself a lot of aggravation and money, too.
To treat heartburn, an increasing number of people are turning to a class of drugs called proton pump inhibitors, or PPI's. The biggest seller by far is the heavily advertised prescription drug Nexium.
The TV Commercial says, "Just one prescription Nexium a day gives many people complete resolution of heartburn symptoms."
With a $240-a-month price tag, sales of Nexium in 2009 reached nearly Five Billion Dollars!
It's the second most commonly prescribed brand-name drug in the U.S.
"PPI's can be effective, particularly if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD. But they're often over-prescribed, unnecessary, and expensive." said CR Best Buy Drugs Expert, Dr. John Santa.
If your doctor suggests a PPI, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs says several over-the-counter alternatives can work just as well and save you thousands of dollars a year.
They include generic Omeprizole, Prilosec, OTC, and new Prevacid 24 Hour.
"But before you start taking any heartburn medication more than just occasionally, talk to your doctor about changing diet and lifestyle and see if that helps." said Dr. Santa.
Prevacid 24 Hour is a brand new over-the-counter that's due on drug store shelves mid-November.
Also, for occasional heartburn, Consumer Reports says before considering a PPI medication, try an antacid like Rolaids or Tums, or and H2 blocker, such as Pepcid or Zantac.
Best Buy Drugs says these over-the-counter medications can offer quick relief, are quite inexpensive and may be all the average heartburn sufferer needs.