Do you have heartburn daily, like approximately 15 million Americans? Perhaps you suffer from acid indigestion at least once a month, which is roughly 60 million individuals. Anyone, regardless of age or pregnancy, might be visiting the medicine chest searching for OTC (over-the-counter) help. When it comes to non-prescription antacids, you have a lot of alternatives, although not all acid-reducing products are made equal. When looking at some of the most popular OTC medicines for heartburn, it’s critical to note that you should never take more than one antacid or acid reducer at a time without first talking to your gastroenterologist.
The Different Types Of Antacids
Antacids are chemicals that neutralize and absorb excess stomach acid, reducing heartburn or indigestion. They typically have magnesium, aluminum, calcium, and salt. Antacids work by increasing the gastric pH and are used to relieve symptoms caused by peptic ulcers. The chemical sodium hydrogen carbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is used in antiacid medications like Alka-Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer. Individuals with high blood pressure, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those on salt-restricted diets should avoid this antacid.
Tums and aluminum-based antacids like Amphojel might cause constipation. When using magnesium compounds like Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, some individuals experience diarrhea. Many individuals choose to take combination aluminum-magnesium antacids like Maalox and Mylanta, which are less likely to cause constipation or diarrhea. Simethicone is an anti-foaming chemical contained in some of these preparations that help break down gas bubbles in the stomach, reducing bloating.
Take your antacid with a meal every time. This allows you to enjoy up to three hours of relief. An antacid taken on an empty stomach has a shorter duration of acid neutralization and only works for 30 to 60 minutes. If you’re taking other medicines, it’s crucial to check with your doctor or pharmacist before using antacids since they may cause interactions. Individuals who have kidney or liver problems should never start using antacids without consulting their doctor.
Conditions That Antacids Are Used To Treat?
Migraine sufferers often suffer from acid reflux, which can cause heartburn or oesophageal inflammation (oesophagitis). These problems are also known as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and are characterized by the return of gastric contents into the esophagus.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2-receptor antagonists are now more frequently used to treat these problems. They are considerably more successful than antacids, and these modern medicines function in a different way from antacids, which simply neutralize the acid for a short time.
What Are Acid Reducers?
Acid inhibitors reduce the amount of acid produced by the stomach, which helps to alleviate heartburn. Zantac and Pepcid, for example, are OTC H2 blockers that start to work in about an hour and relieve symptoms for a more extended period than antacids.
Prilosec and Prevacid 24HR are examples of antacids that include proton pump inhibitors. OTC Proton pump inhibitors are less potent than antacids and H2 blockers, but their effect is longer-lasting.
Prilosec is also available in a lower-strength version without a prescription, which lasts for about 12 hours. Nexium, the only prescription antacid or PPI with 24- hour coverage, Nexium has demonstrated the effectiveness of heartburn relief throughout the day and night.
Why Should You Consult A Doctor Or A Pharmacist About Antacids?
Antacids are excellent at resolving your heartburn symptoms quickly, but they seldom treat underlying causes. So if you’ve had heartburn for more than two weeks, it’s critical to speak with your doctor.
Antacids, like other medications, have interactions with one another. When this happens, the effects of one or both medicines may change, or the danger of adverse reactions may be more significant. If you’re taking a prescription medication, it’s critical to discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist before using an antacid.
How Do Antacid Tablets Work?
Your stomach produces acid to assist with the digestion of food and to combat germs (bacteria). This acid is corrosive; thus, your body develops a natural mucous barrier to protect the stomach’s lining.
The acid reflux barrier has broken down for some people, allowing the stomach to be damaged by acid. For others, there may be an issue with the muscular band at the top of the stomach (the sphincter) that keeps the stomach firmly shut. This might allow the acid to escape and irritate the gullet (esophagus).
Antacids neutralize (counteract) the acid in your stomach. They do so because antacid chemicals are bases (alkalis), opposites of acids. The process of neutralization occurs when an acid and a base come into contact, which can help reduce ulcer pain and the burning sensation associated with acid reflux.
Alginates are in several over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription antacids. Alginates function by creating a gel that floats on top of stomach contents. The gel acts as a protective barrier, preventing the esophagus from being damaged by stomach acid.
Anti-acids neutralize stomach acid. Each type of antacid works differently, and there is no single best over-the-counter (OTC) treatment for everyone. It’s important to speak with your doctor about which anti-acid might be right for you before trying an OTC product without professional advice.