Antacid medications

Antacid medications

Antacids are medicines that can be purchased without a prescription and are indicated to counteract excess acidity or heartburn. These symptoms are common intermittently in a significant fraction of the populationYOU MAY ALSO LIKE THIS ARTICLES 

What are antacids and how do they work

Antacids were initially the first-line drugs for peptic ulcer disease. However, the discovery of proton pump inhibitors revolutionized the treatment of this pathology. Currently, the use of antacids is limited to the relief of heartburn, sometimes associated with gastroesophageal reflux.

Antacids are a group of drugs composed mainly of mineral salts (aluminum, calcium or magnesium salts) or also sodium bicarbonate. They have the ability to neutralize the hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thereby eliminating or reducing the sensation of heartburn, temporarily.

Antacids usually present in their composition a mixture of several of these salts and sometimes they also add another active principle of the alginate family that is used because they form a gelatinous film or coating that protects the gastrointestinal mucosa against stomach acid.

There are many commercial brands (such as Almax, Maalox, Rennie, Gaviscon, Eno Fruit Salt, etc .) and they are usually presented in the form of chewable tablets, oral suspensions, or also in sachets.

Adverse effects and contraindications of antacids

Antacids can be bought at the pharmacy without the need for a prescription, but keep in mind that the relief they produce is only temporary. It is true that its use occasionally does not involve significant risks, however, its chronic administration can cause serious problems.

The first effect to be aware of is that these medications make it difficult for many other medications to be absorbed. This interaction will be of greater or lesser importance depending on the nature of the other pharmacological treatments. For example, some antacids interact with emergency contraceptives, known as the ” morning-after pill,” to the extent that they could affect their effectiveness. In this case, it is recommended not to take them together.

Another serious problem that can be caused by the use of these medications is the accumulation of salts, especially in people with kidney problems. In fact, depending on the severity of kidney failure or failure, the use of these drugs may be totally contraindicated.

Beyond that, they are relatively safe medications, provided they are used according to the instructions on the package insert. It is important not to abuse antacids, especially if we are buying them without a prescription for the occasional relief of reflux, heartburn, or heartburn.

If you need to use these drugs regularly or for a long time, you should go to the doctor to investigate what are the underlying causes of the chronic or recurrent heartburn problem.

Chiropractors for gastroesophageal reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when part of the stomach contents through the esophagus amounted producing different consequences. One of the possible causes of reflux can be a hiatal hernia . Complications derived from gastroesophageal reflux can vary depending on their severity:

The most common is esophagitis or inflammation of the lining of the esophagus due to acid exposure. In severe cases, ulcers may bleed and scars appear capable of reducing the diameter of the esophageal lumen and making it difficult for food to pass.


Due to the persistent and prolonged exposure of the esophageal epithelium to acid, a change in the mucosa can occur, giving rise to what is known as ” Barrett’s esophagus “, considered a risk factor for developing esophageal cancer.

Acid reflux generally worsens after meals, especially if foods are consumed in excess of those that promote sphincter relaxation, such as chocolate, spices such as pepper, fatty foods, alcohol, and coffee. Another element that can promote sphincter relaxation and therefore reflux is tobacco.

In some cases, respiratory symptoms such as hoarseness or hoarseness, throat discomfort, and cough also occur, due to the irritation caused by the acid when reaching that anatomical area and inflaming the larynx and pharynx.

Pharmacotherapy aims at limiting the consequences of gastroesophageal reflux if this takes place. In this way, relief of symptoms is obtained by decreasing gastric secretion from the stomach. For this, proton pump inhibitor drugs that block the release of acid in the stomach are indicated. This group includes omeprazole, lansoprazole, rabeprazole, pantoprazole and esomeprazole. The usual recommendation is to use the lowest possible dose to control symptoms. Other medications used are histamine 2 receptor antagonists (such as famotidine) and antacids. These are less effective options than the former.


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