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Acute Gastritis Medication

  • Author: Mohammad Wehbi, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
Updated: Feb 25, 2016

Medication Summary

Specific treatment is dependent on the etiology of gastritis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the treatment of tuberculosis consists of a 2-month course of daily isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide, followed by 4 months of daily isoniazid along with rifampin. See Tuberculosis.

Medical management generally is ineffective in treating phlegmonous gastritis. No effective antiviral therapy exists for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, though 2 agents (ie, ganciclovir, foscarnet) have been shown to be virostatic. See Cytomegalovirus.

The treatment of C albicans includes a variety of agents, including nystatin, oral clotrimazole, itraconazole, fluconazole, amphotericin B, and ketoconazole. See Candidiasis.

The treatment of disseminated histoplasmosis includes a variety of agents, including amphotericin B, itraconazole, and fluconazole. They have all been determined to be effective. See Histoplasmosis.

No drugs are available to treat anisakidosis. Endoscopic removal may be necessary.



Class Summary

Used for general prophylaxis. Antacids containing aluminum and magnesium can help relieve symptoms of gastritis by neutralizing gastric acids. These agents are inexpensive and safe.

Aluminum and magnesium hydroxide, magnesia and alumina oral suspension (Rulox)


Drug combination that neutralizes gastric acidity and increases pH of the stomach and duodenal bulb. Aluminum ions inhibit smooth-muscle contraction and inhibit gastric emptying. Magnesium/aluminum antacid mixtures are used to avoid bowel function changes.


H2 blockers

Class Summary

This class includes drugs whose mechanism of action is competitive inhibition of histamine at the histamine 2 (H2) receptor. Histamine plays an important role in gastric acid secretion, thereby making H2 blockers effective suppressors of basal gastric acid output and acid output stimulated by food and the neurological system. There are different drugs with different potencies and half-lives (eg, cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine, nizatidine). Cimetidine will be discussed below as a representative of this class of drugs.

Cimetidine (Tagamet)


Inhibits histamine at H2 receptors of gastric parietal cells, which results in reduced gastric acid secretion, gastric volume, and hydrogen concentration.


Proton pump inhibitors

Class Summary

Proton pump inhibitors are potent inhibitors of the proton (acid) pump (ie, the enzyme H+,K+-ATPase), located in the apical secretory membrane of the gastric acid secretory cells (parietal cell). Proton pump inhibitors can completely inhibit acid secretion and have a long duration of action. They are the most effective gastric acid blockers. Omeprazole will be discussed as a representative of this class of drugs.

Omeprazole (Prilosec)


Decreases gastric acid secretion by inhibiting the parietal cell H+/K+-ATPase pump.



Class Summary

Bacterial infections also can cause gastritis. The most common causative organism is H pylori. A number of therapeutic regimens are effective against H pylori. Single antimicrobial agents generally are not recommended because of the potential development of resistance.

Dual therapy includes a proton pump inhibitor plus amoxicillin (no longer recommended because eradication rates are only 30-80%) or a proton pump inhibitor plus clarithromycin (eradication rate of roughly 71%). Adding a second antimicrobial agent is recommended for successful eradication.

Triple regimens are preferred in clinical practice. One drug is a proton pump inhibitor or a bismuth-based drug, the second drug is clarithromycin, and the third drug is amoxicillin or metronidazole. Quadruple therapy regimens (ie, 2 antibiotics, bismuth, antisecretory agent) generally are effective; however, because more drugs are prescribed and taken, increased adverse effects and decreased patient compliance can occur. This regimen is used in the event that triple therapy fails.

The decision as to which medications to use is based on the following 4 criteria: (1) the different toxicities of the various medications, (2) the relative costs of each medication and regimen, (3) the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, and (4) the level of patient compliance.

Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Trimox)


Interferes with synthesis of cell wall mucopeptides during active multiplication, resulting in bactericidal activity against susceptible bacteria.

Tetracycline (Sumycin)


Inhibits bacterial protein synthesis by binding with 30S and possibly 50S ribosomal subunit(s).

Metronidazole (Flagyl)


Imidazole ring-based antibiotic active against various anaerobic bacteria and protozoa.

Clarithromycin (Biaxin)


Inhibits bacterial growth, possibly by blocking dissociation of peptidyl t-RNA from ribosomes and causing arrest of RNA-dependent protein synthesis.


Antidiarrheal agents

Class Summary

Used in combination with antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors/H2 receptor antagonists to eradicate H pylori.

Bismuth subsalicylate (Bismatrol, Pepto-Bismol)


Drug combination that treats active duodenal ulcer associated with H pylori.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Mohammad Wehbi, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Program Director, Department of Gastroenterology, Emory University School of Medicine; Section Chief of Gastroenterology, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Mohammad Wehbi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Vincent W Yang, MD, PhD R Bruce Logue Professor, Director, Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, Professor of Hematology and Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine

Vincent W Yang, MD, PhD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, Association of American Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Clinical Investigation

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gwendolyn Sarver 

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Kamil Obideen, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Division of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Kamil Obideen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Sunil Dacha, MBBS, MD House Staff, Division of Digestive Disease, Emory University School of Medicine

Sunil Dacha, MBBS, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

BS Anand, MD Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine

BS Anand, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Waqar A Qureshi, MD Professor of Medicine, Chief of Endoscopy, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Baylor College of Medicine

Waqar A Qureshi, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Gastroenterology, American College of Physicians, American Gastroenterological Association, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Nicole M Griglione, MD Fellow in Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine

Nicole M Griglione, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association and Illinois State Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Richard H Snyder, MD Vice-Chair, Program Director, Department of Medicine, Norfolk General Hospital; Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, East Virginia Medical School

Richard H Snyder, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Acute gastritis with superficial erosions.
Mucosal erythema and edema consistent with acute gastritis.
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