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Nonprescription Antacids for Heartburn

Topic Overview

Many people take nonprescription antacids for mild or occasional heartburn.

  • Antacids are substances that neutralize some of the stomach acid.
  • Some antacids have a foaming agent (alginate) that floats on top of the stomach's contents. This may reduce the amount of acid that comes in contact with your esophagus.

Examples of nonprescription antacids include:

  • Rolaids.
  • Maalox.
  • Mylanta.
  • Gaviscon.
  • Tums.

Be careful when you take over-the-counter antacid medicines. Many of these medicines have aspirin in them. Read the label to make sure that you are not taking more than the recommended dose. Too much aspirin can be harmful. If you are pregnant, do not take aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin unless your doctor says it is okay.

Some nonprescription antacids are safe to use during pregnancy to treat heartburn symptoms. Antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate should not be taken by pregnant women because they can cause fluid buildup. And do not use antacids that have magnesium trisilicate, because they may not be safe for your baby.

If you need to use antacids frequently, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about his or her recommendations and cautions. Be sure to follow the package directions.

Credits

Current as of: August 11, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo, MD - Internal Medicine
Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD, FACP, FACG - Gastroenterology

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