ANTACID – INTRODUCTION
Antacids are a type of medication that are available over the counter from pharmacies and are used to treat the symptoms of heartburn and acid indigestion.
ANTACID – INDICATION
This medication is used to treat the symptoms of too much stomach acid such as stomach upset, heartburn, and acid indigestion. It is also used to relieve symptoms of extra gas such as belching, bloating, and feelings of pressure/discomfort in the stomach/gut. Simethicone helps break up gas bubbles in the gut. Aluminum and magnesium antacids work quickly to lower the acid in the stomach. Liquid antacids usually work faster/better than tablets or capsules.
This medication works only on existing acid in the stomach. It does not prevent acid production. It may be used alone or with other medications that lower acid production (e.g., H2 blockers such as cimetidine/ranitidine and proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole).
If you are self-treating with this medication, carefully read the package instructions before you start using this product to be sure it is right for you. Some products have similar brand names but different active ingredients with different uses. Taking the wrong product could harm you. Ask your pharmacist if you have any questions about your product or its use.
ANTACID – INFORMATION
A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.
Antacids are agents that neutralize the gastric acid and raise the gastric pH, so are used to treat dyspepsia and are used as symptomatic relief of peptic ulcer. Antacids in common use salts of magnesium, aluminium and calcium. Some mixtures contain sodium and should be used with caution in patients who should avoid excess sodium intake. Alginates are sometimes combined with antacids for use in gastroesophageal reflux disease. Alginates float on top of the gastric contents and act as a barrier between the acidic contents of the stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter, preventing erosion of the lower esophagus and therefore not creating the pain experienced in gastroesophageal reflux disease.
How antacids work
Antacids can work in two ways. They can:
- coat the surface of the oesophagus with a protective barrier against stomach acid
- produce a gel on the stomach’s surface which helps stop acid leaking up into the oesophagus, preventing the symptoms of heartburn
Antacids work by neutralising any acid that is in your stomach, reducing heartburn symptoms and relieving pain.
Antacids can also be combined with other medicines to help relieve the symptoms of heartburn. A number of different antacid medicines are available which all have different brand names.
ARE ANTACIDS EFFECTIVE?
There is evidence to show that antacids are effective in providing short-term relief for heartburn.
However, long-term use is not recommended because there are more effective prescription medications that can be used to treat recurring heartburn, such as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs work by reducing the amount of acid that your stomach produces.
There is a lack of evidence showing that the long-term use of antacids is effective in relieving pain that is associated with heartburn.
Lifestyle changes, such as changes to your diet, can help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn. For more information and advice see heartburn – treatment.
Visit your GP if the symptoms of heartburn persist for more than a week or if they quickly return after the effects of the antacids has worn off.
This medication can cause nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or headache. If these symptoms persist or become severe, notify your doctor.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
The magnesium in this product can cause diarrhea. Using an antacid that contains only aluminum along with this product can help control diarrhea. The aluminum in this product can cause constipation. To minimize constipation, drink plenty of fluids and exercise. Diarrhea is more common with this product than constipation.
Aluminum-containing antacids bind to phosphate, an important body chemical, in the gut. This can cause low phosphate levels, especially if you use this medication in large doses and for a long time. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms of low phosphate: loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, muscle weakness.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: dizziness, fainting.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects or symptoms of a serious medical problem occur: black/tarry stools, slow/shallow breathing, slow/irregular heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion), deep sleep, pain with urination, stomach/abdominal pain, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.