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13 Omeprazole Alternative Drugs Best For Acid Reflux

13 Omeprazole Alternative Drugs Best For Acid Reflux

Omeprazole is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the UK, mainly used for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) with symptoms such as heartburn caused by stomach acid, which rises from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and stomach).

In this post, I will discuss different Omeprazole alternative drugs available for the public to buy and options for prescription-only medications.


Omeprazole And Alternatives: Drug Classification

Omeprazole belongs to a group of medications called Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs are the most influential group of drugs that suppress acid production in the stomach. Omeprazole Alternative drugs, discussed in this post, belong to one of the following classes:

Omeprazole Alternative drugs are available as:

  • General sale list medicines (GSL)
  • Pharmacy-only medication (P)
  • Prescription-only medicines (POM)


Medicines can be sold in any shop or supermarket. On the other hand, P medicines can only be purchased from the pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. This includes online pharmacies. A doctor or another qualified prescriber can only prescribe POM drugs.

Is Omeprazole Available Over The Counter Without Prescription?

Omeprazole can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. Omeprazole 10mg tablets are classified as P medicine. Pharmacy chains such as Boots and Lloyds sell their own branded version of Omeprazole named ‘Boots Acid Reflux tablets’ and ‘Heartburn relief’ (Lloyds Pharmacy).

In 2019 a new product containing Omeprazole was launched. Pyrocalm Control is licensed as GSL medicine. Each gastro-resistant tablet of Pyrocalm Control includes 20mg of Omeprazole. Omeprazole 20mg is widely prescribed in the UK. Omeprazole 40mg tablets or capsules can only be obtained on prescription.

Omeprazole Alternative Drugs: Over The Counter Alternatives

1. Nexium Control As Omeprazole Alternative Drug

Nexium Control is the closest Omeprazole alternative available over the counter, without a prescription. Nexium Control belongs to the same class of drugs as Omeprazole – proton pump inhibitors. Nexium Control comes in two different pack sizes: tablets.

Nexium Control: Active Ingredient

Each Nexium Control tablet or capsule contains 20mg of Esomeprazole.

Nexium Control Where To Buy It?

Nexium Control tables are widely available as GSL medication. Most supermarkets and some corner shops sell Nexium Control. Nexium Control can also be purchased online. For example, both tablets and capsules are available on Amazon.co.uk.

Nexium Control Recommended Dosage

The recommended dose for Nexium Control is one tablet per day (daily dose: 20mg of Esomeprazole).
You can read more about Nexium Control in my separate post: Nexium Control review. Is Nexium the best PPI?

2. Guardium Acid Reflux Control As Omeprazole Alternative Treatment

Guardium Acid Reflux Control As Omeprazole Alternative

Guardium Acid Reflux Control is the latest addition of acid reflux medication available without a prescription.

Like Nexium Control, Guardium Acid Reflux Control contains Esomeprazole as an active ingredient.

Guardium Acid Reflux Control: Active Ingredient

Each Guardium Acid Reflux Control tablet contains 20mg of Esomeprazole.

Guardium Acid Reflux Control Where To Buy?

Guardium Acid Reflux Control can be purchased from conventional or online pharmacies. Different websites, including Amazon.co.uk, also sell this product. Two pack sizes are available to buy (Amazon.co.uk): pack of 7 and 14 tablets. Guardium Acid Reflux Control is a GSL medication. Therefore, it can be sold in any shop or supermarket.

Guardium Acid Reflux Control Recommended Dose

  • Guardium Acid Reflux Control is licensed for adults over 18 years of age.
  • The recommended dose is one tablet per day (daily dose: 20 mg Esomeprazole)

3. Pantoloc Control As An Alternative Option

Pantoloc Control As An Alternative Option

Pantoprazole is another PPI used to relieve heartburn symptoms.

Pantoloc Control is a P medicine. This means it is impossible to buy Pantoloc over the counter from a local store. It can only be purchased from the pharmacy with the help of a prescription.

Pantoloc Control is available in two different pack sizes: 7 and 14 tablets. Short-term use of Pantoprazole in the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease demonstrated similar effectiveness to other PPIs such as Omeprazole and Esomeprazole (Dias, 2009).

Pantoloc Control: Active Ingredient

Each Pantoloc Control tablet contains 20mg of Pantoprazole.

Pantoloc Control Where To Buy It?

Not all pharmacies stock Pantoloc Control; however, some will be able to order this medication individually for collection from a pharmacy, the same or the next day.

Pantoloc Control Recommended Dose

The recommended daily dose is one tablet per day (daily dose: 20 mg Pantoprazole).

4. Ranitidine As Omeprazole Alternative Drug

Ranitidine As Omeprazole Alternative Drug

We are now moving away from PPIs. Ranitidine belongs to a group of medication called H2 Rantagonistseceptor (H2 Receptor Blockers).

H2 receptor antagonists differ from PPIs in chemistry and work differently to suppress acid production.

Ranitidine is effective in managing heartburn and indigestion symptoms; however, PPIs are superior (more effective) in the treatment of GORD symptom(Sigterman et al., 2013) than Ranitidine.

Read more: Ranitidine vs. Omeprazole: which drug is better?
Ranitidine is available under different brand names, including the most known: Zantac. Supermarkets and chain pharmacies sell their own ‘versions’ of Ranitidine. Each over-the-counter Ranitidine product contains 75mg of Ranitidine per tablet. Ranitidine is considerably cheaper than PPIs available over the counter.

Where To Buy Ranitidine?

Most pharmacies and larger supermarkets stock ranitidine. Over-the-counter ranitidine products contain 75mg of Ranitidine per tablet.

Ranitidine Over The Counter: Recommended Daily Dose

  • Over-the-counter Ranitidine is licensed for adults and adolescents from 16 years of age.
  • One tablet (75mg of Ranitidine) should be taken on the onset of symptoms.
  • No more than two tablets should be taken in 24 hours.

Ranitidine Recalls: Supply Issues

In recent months most Ranitidine 75mg products, including Zantac, most supermarkets own labeled versions of Ranitidine, and prescription-only Ranitidine was subject to a number of recalls due to possible contamination with N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is classified as ‘probable human Carcinogen.’

This is a global issue with a number of Ranitidine products in the USA containing above the acceptable daily intake of NDMA. In the UK, an investigation is being conducted by The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The supply of Ranitidine products has been disrupted, with no stock availability. You can learn more about Ranitidine recalls and the link between NDMA and cancer in Ranitidine recalls updates & patient information.

Some Of You May Ask: Why PPIs Are More Effective Than H2-Receptor Antagonists?

The difference in effectiveness comes from different mechanisms of action of PPIs and H2 receptor Antagonists. In plain language, H2 Receptor Antagonists suppress acid production by blocking only one acid production pathway. On the other hand, PPIs stop the proton pump, which plays a role in the final part of acid secretion. This mechanism of action makes them more effective than H2 Receptor Antagonists.

5. Antacids As Over The Counter Omeprazole Alternative

Antacids are least effective compared to two other groups of drugs discussed so far. However, antacids provide fast, short-term relief from heartburn symptoms by neutralizing acid in the stomach. Antacid can be purchased from pharmacies and other outlets.

There is a number of antacid products available on the market. Antacids come in different forms, such as chewable tablets and most popularly as a liquid formulation.
Popular brands of antacid products include:

  • Gaviscon, available as chewable tablets and liquid
  • Rennie range of heartburn and indigestion chewable tablets
  • Tums chewable tablets
  • Peptac liquid

Click on the image to check for the best deals.

Gaviscon  Range 

Omeprazole Alternative Drugs: Prescription-Only Options

Alternative Proton Pump Inhibitors:

The following PPIs are available as prescription-only medication:

1. Lansoprazole

Lansoprazole is most commonly prescribed as Lansoprazole 15mg or 30mg capsules. However, it is important to note that Lansoprazole over the counter is available if you suffer from heartburn. In this case, there will be a slight variation from the prescription-only Lansoprazole.

Lansoprazole is also available as 15mg and 30mg Orodispersible tablets (in generic ‘cheaper’ form) and a branded product called ZotonFasTab. Orodispersible tablets are placed on the tongue and allowed to disperse in the mouth, releasing gastro-resistant micro granules that are swallowed with the saliva (eMC, 2019).

2. Esomeprazole

Another Omeprazole alternative is available as gastro-resistant capsules and tablets (20mg and 40mg) produced generically and under different brands such as Nexium. Nexium is also known as Nexium 10 mg gastro-resistant granules for oral suspension. Esomeprazole granules are mixed with water to produce a suspension.

3. Pantoprazole

Less popular Pantoprazole is available as a prescription-only medication in 20mg and 40mg gastro-resistant tablets.

4. Rabeprazole

The last PPI available as Omeprazole alternative is Rabeprazole. Rabeprazole is the least commonly prescribed PPI in the UK. Again, Rabeprazole is also a prescription-only drug. Rabeprazole OTC is not available. Rabeprazole is available in 10mg and 10mg gastro-resistant tablets.

5. Omeprazole Liquid

For those with swallowing difficulties or babies and toddlers, Omeprazole can be specially made into Omeprazole liquid. Learn more about Omeprazole liquid in the post: Indications, special form, cost, & availability.

H2 Receptor Antagonist On Prescription

Prescription-only ranitidine is available in the form of 150mg and 300mg tablets. Additionally, Ranitidine can be prescribed in the form of oral solution, known as Ranitidine 150mg/10ml oral solution, and as branded product Zantac Syrup ( 150mg of Ranitidine per 10ml). Oral solution of Ranitidine is prescribed for babies (young population) or patients with swallowing difficulties.

Other H2 blockers available on prescription include:

Cimetidine, Famotidine, Nizatidine are the other three drugs not commonly prescribed in the UK. The supply of the above drugs has been disrupted due to higher demand caused by Ranitidine recalls.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes such as weight loss can reduce episodes of heartburn. Other lifestyle modifications to consider include:


Reduce coffee

Reduce alcohol

Stop smoking

Avoid food that cause acid

Anyone experiencing heartburn symptoms for longer than three weeks should consult their GP. Patients should be aware of other symptoms needed GP referral, such as weight loss (for no reason), frequent episodes of feeling sick (NHS, 2017), and other symptoms. Visit the NHS website for more information on indigestion.
Always read the product information leaflet.

Omeprazole alternative drugs:

Quick FAQ

How long does it take St John's wort to work?
It takes about 3 to 6 weeks to see any effect of St John's wort. Suddenly stopping can make side effects worse.
Does St John's wort give you energy?
St John's wort can help revitalize people who are tired and have low energy. It is a herbal nerve tonic and antidepressant.
Should I take St John's wort in the morning or night?
It would be best if you take St John's wort in the morning as some of the side effects caused by it can be; restlessness, trouble sleeping, anxiety, dizziness, dry mouth, etc.
  • Dias, L.M. Clin. Drug Investig. (2009) 29(Suppl 2): 3. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2165/1153121-S0-000000000-00000 Accessed on 05/06/2019.
  • Sigterman  KE, van Pinxteren  B, Bonis  PA, Lau  J, Numans  ME (2013). Short‐term treatment with proton pump inhibitors, H2‐receptor antagonists and prokinetics for gastro‐oesophageal reflux disease‐like symptoms and endoscopy negative reflux disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD002095. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002095.pub5. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD002095.pub5 Accessed on 05/06/2019.