Learn important information about what symptoms of stomach problems antacids help relieve as well as associated risks and side effects.

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What Is This Medicine Used For?

Antacids treat stomach acidity by neutralizing gastric hydrochloric acid or preventing the secretion of acid. Antacids can be used to treat:

  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • symptoms of acid reflux

What Precautions Should I Be Aware Of?

Antacids can have laxative (bowel-loosening) or constipating effects. They can lead to alkalosis, a condition in which too little acid prevents the body from functioning properly.

How Should I Use This Medicine?

Antacids are taken orally, usually in a tablet or liquid form.

What Side Effects May I Experience?

Some people have reported allergic reactions to antacids. Antacids can also increase the risk of developing sensitivity to certain foods and have been linked to possible bone fracture. 

Excessive use of antacids can lead to an overdose on calcium carbonate with magnesium, two common ingredients in many antacids. 

How Should I Store This Medicine?

Store in a cool, dry place or at room temperature.

Other Names/Brand Names

Popular antacids include:

  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Rolaids
  • Tums

The antacids aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide are often used together to relieve stomach issues.

Additional Information

  • Talk to your doctor. An upset stomach could actually be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a peptic ulcer. Antacids can only soothe some of the symptoms of acid reflux disease and peptic ulcers, not cure them. Your doctor can walk you through available treatments for these conditions.
  • Seek medical attention. Some heart attacks can mimic stomach pains. If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack, don’t wait to see if antacids might help. Get help immediately.
  • Be aware of the ingredients in your antacid. Many antacids contain calcium, which could lead to excessive intake.
  • Know your medications. H2-receptor blocker medications such as Pepcid AC can reduce acid production, and proton-pump inhibiting (PPI) medications such as Prevacid 24HR can block acid production and heal the esophagus.

Be aware of drug interactions. Antacids can interact with tetracyclines and amphetamines. 

Written by: Julia Haskins
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: George Krucik, MD, MBA
Published: Jan 15, 2013
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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