Article Index

Commercial Antacids

Most commercial antacids contain two or more components. The most common combinations are varying concentrations of sodium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide. Some widely advertised brands, those with additional components and those containing greater concentrations of the effective ingredients, tend to cost more. There are other antacids that sacrifice efficacy in the interests of taste and acceptability.

Space precludes detailed listing of all products. However, labeling is required, and armed with the above information, consumers should be able to select the product most suitable to their needs.

How to take Antacids

Most commercial antacids come with some instructions. It is important to heed the contraindications and not exceed the recommended daily dose.

The need for these antacids is highly individual and regular use should only be as directed by a physician. A common recommendation is to take the antacids after meals and at bedtime. In practice, most users learn to take the antacid when they have symptoms, e.g., heartburn. A useful technique is to anticipate the timing of symptoms, such as after spicy foods or at bedtime, and take the antacid before.

Summary and Conclusion

Antacids are useful to provide rapid relief of intermittent heartburn, particularly if brought on occasionally by foods or various activities. Antacids also seem to help many of those with bloating or functional (nonulcer) dyspepsia. By reducing gastric acidity (raising the intragastric pH), antacids inactivate pepsin and relieve symptoms.

Over-the-counter preparations provide only temporary symptom relief. They do not prevent recurrence of symptoms or allow an injured esophagus to heal. They should not be taken regularly as a substitute for prescription medicines – they may be hiding a more serious condition.

If needed regularly for more than two weeks, consult a physician for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Working with Your Doctor

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Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Doctor–Patient Communication

How to Help Your Doctor Help You

How to Talk to Your Doctor