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Antacids are medicines or drugs that neutralize stomach acid.

Uses of Antacids

Antacids are used to do the following:

  • Relieve acid indigestion
  • Trating upset stomach
  • Treating sour stomach
  • Relieving heartburn
Ingredients in Antacids

Antacids contain the following, alone or in various combinations:

  • Aluminum Hydroxide
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Simethicone

How Does Antacids Work?

Antacids are divided into two groups: One group, that work by chemical neutralization of gastric acid, for e.g., sodium bicarbonate; and the other group that work by adsorption of the acid (non-absorbable antacids), e.g., calcium and magnesium salts. Antacids are taken by mouth. They are available in the form of tablets (regular and chewable), lozenge and syrup. They work by neutralizing excess stomach acid. Antacids differ in how effective they are depending upon the ingredients. There are certain antacids containing Magnesium Hydroxide and Sodium Bicarbonate, which dissolve rapidly in the stomach and bring the fastest relief. Antacids that contain Calcium Carbonate or Aluminum dissolve more slowly and can take up to half an hour to begin working. The longer an antacid stays in the stomach, the longer it works. Those that contain Calcium Carbonate or Aluminum work longer than those that contain Sodium Bicarbonate or Magnesium. Also, it is advisable to take any kind of antacid after a meal, instead of on an empty stomach. This provides longer-lasting relief because the medicine stays in the stomach longer.

Popular Brands
  • Alka-Seltzer
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Tums
  • Rolaids
  • Gaviscon
  • Aluminum hydroxide
  • Prilosec
  • Gelusil
  • Magaldrate

Generic forms are also available. These products can be bought without a prescription.

Related Article

Side Effects of Antacids

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