Treatment for Ulcers

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Doctors normally diagnose ulcers by conducting a barium upper GI x-ray or an upper endoscopy, according to MedicineNet. The endoscopy is a more reliable test and has the advantage of allowing the doctor to remove tissue samples so they can be tested to exclude cancer. Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will have a good idea of what medications to prescribe in treating your ulcer.

Acid Blocker Medications

Histamine (H2) blockers work to reduce how much hydrochloric acid is released into your stomach. As your system releases less hydrochloric acid, your gastrointestinal system is able to heal and you experience less pain.

These medications work by blocking histamine from reaching histamine receptors. When these receptors detect histamine, they tell the acid-secreting cells inside your stomach to release hydrochloric acid, according to the Mayo Clinic.

These medications include ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and nizatadine (Axid). You can buy these medications over-the-counter or with a prescription. After your doctor diagnoses your ulcer, he will prescribe a treatment for ulcers that suits your specific needs.


Use an antacid along with acid blocker medication or in place of one of these medications. Antacid medications work to neutralize stomach acid already in your system, according to the Mayo Clinic. Examples of antacids your doctor could prescribe include Amphojel, Maalox and Mylanta.


If your doctor finds H. pylori bacteria in your gastric system, he will prescribe at least one antibiotic to kill these organisms. A small example of these antibiotics includes clarithromycin, amoxicillin and metronidazole.

Your doctor might opt to prescribe a combination drug consisting of two antibiotics and an acid suppressor or a cytoprotective medication. These include Prevpac and Helidac and are prescribed specifically for ulcers caused by H. pylori infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Killing off the H. pylori bacteria reduces the probability of developing another gastric ulcer in the future, according to MedicineNet. Antibiotic treatment may increase the risk of allergic reactions, antibiotic-induced colitis or diarrhea.

Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitor medications work to shut down the pumps inside the acid-secreting cells. These medications also appear to slow down the proliferation of the H. pylori bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic.

These medications include Aciphex, Prevacid, Nexium and Prilosec. If you have an actively bleeding ulcer, your doctor may decide to have you admitted to the hospital where he can administer Protonix intravenously.

Long-term use of a proton pump inhibitor at a high dose may place you at risk of a hip fracture, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor may recommend that you take a calcium supplement while taking a proton pump inhibitor. Common side effects can include headache, diarrhea, nausea, rash and constipation.

Cytoprotective Medications

A cytoprotective agent helps to coat your stomach, protecting it from stomach acid. Examples of these medications includes sucralfate, misoprostol and subsalicylate or Pepto Bismol, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Resources Peptic Ulcer Treatments and Drugs Peptic Ulcer (Contd.)