Pantoprazole is a prescription-only-medicine used to treat acid reflux, heartburn, and other similar conditions. Acid reflux occurs when digestive acid escapes the stomach and enters the oesophagus. Heartburn is felt as a result of acid reflux, where the ejected stomach acid begins to irritate the soft tissues in the oesophagus. Pantoprazole works to inhibit the production of stomach acid, thus making it less likely that any will escape into the oesophagus. The tablets will reach their full effect within two and a half hours, and will provide relief for up to 24 hours. Pantoprazole tablets are smaller than other similar acid reflux treatments, so may be the preferable option if you have difficulty swallowing large capsules.
The digestive acids contained within the stomach play an important role in the digestive process. As food enters the stomach, these acids will break it down, before it can continue its journey through the intestines. Normally, these acids are contained within the stomach by a group of muscles called the oesophageal sphincter. This sphincter is found at the top of the stomach and acts as a one-way barrier, allowing food to travel down into the stomach, but preventing acid and other substances from escaping upwards into the oesophagus. However, for a variety of reasons, this sphincter can weaken. As a result, small quantities of stomach acid can penetrate this barrier and enter the oesophagus. This is what is known as acid reflux. Heartburn is an associated symptom of acid reflux, where the acid in the oesophagus irritates the surrounding tissues. Heartburn, despite its name, does not involve the heart. The name derives merely from the fact that the pain is felt around the base of the chest cavity.
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