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Summary of Antacids

Antacids are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that help neutralize stomach acid.

They work differently from other acid reducers such as H2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Those drugs work by reducing or preventing the secretion of stomach acid.

Antacids can be used to treat symptoms of excess stomach acid, such as:
  1. Acid reflux, which can include regurgitation, bitter taste, persistent dry cough, pain when lying down, and trouble swallowing
  2. Heartburn, which is a burning sensation in your chest or throat caused by acid reflux 
  3. Indigestion, which is pain in your upper gut that can feel like gas or bloating

Types of antacids:-
Antacids usually come in the following drug forms :-
  1. Liquid
  2. Chewable gummy or tablet
  3. Tablet that you dissolve in water to drink

Popular antacid brands include :-
  1. Alka-Seltzer
  2. Maalox
  3. Mylanta
  4. Rolaids
  5. Tums

Precautions :-
Antacids are typically safe for most people. However, people with certain medical conditions should talk with their doctors before taking certain antacids that contain aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate.

For example, people with heart failure may have sodium restrictions to help decrease fluid buildup. However, antacids often contain a lot of sodium. These people should ask their doctor before using antacids.

People with kidney failure may develop a buildup of aluminum after using antacids. This can lead to aluminum toxicity. People with kidney failure also tend to have problems with electrolyte balance. All antacids contain electrolytes, which could make electrolyte balance problems worse.

Talk to your child’s doctor before giving your child antacids. Children don’t typically develop symptoms of excess stomach acid, so their symptoms could be related to another condition.

Side effects of antacids:-
Side effects from antacids are rare. However, they can occur, even when you use them according to the directions.

Antacids can either cause constipation or have a laxative effect. Some people have had allergic reactions. Antacids might also increase the risk of developing sensitivities to certain foods.

Side effects from misuse :-
Many of the side effects of antacids come from not taking them as directed.

Many antacids - including Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums - contain calcium. If you take too much or take them for longer than directed, you could get an overdose of calcium. Too much calcium can cause :-
  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Mental status changes
  4. Kidney stones

Excess calcium can also lead to alkalosis. In this condition, your body doesn’t make enough acid to function properly.

If you feel like you need to use a lot of an antacid for relief, that might be a sign of another condition. If you’ve taken an antacid according to the directions and haven’t gotten relief, talk to your doctor.

Drug interactions :-
Antacids can interfere with the function of other drugs. If you take other medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using antacids.

Some antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, contain aspirin. The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert about this type of antacid in June 2016. This alert was issued because of reports of serious bleeding related to aspirin-containing antacids.

If you take another medication that increases your risk of bleeding, such as an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug, you shouldn’t take these antacids.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking aspirin-containing antacids if you :-
  1. Have a history of stomach ulcers or bleeding disorders
  2. Are older than 60 years old
  3. Drink three or more alcoholic drinks per day