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Learn how antacids can help indigestion and heartburn with a consultation from one of our board-certified doctors online. Get a new prescription for antacids or refill from a board-certified doctor online.*

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Ease heartburn and indigestion

Reduces the amount of acid in the stomach

Three different types of antacids

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About antacids

Antacids are medications designed to neutralize stomach acid and relieve symptoms of acid reflux. They’re often prescribed to help treat heartburn, but they’re also used for other conditions. There are three main types of prescription antacids. 

What antacids treat

The most common condition treated with antacids is heartburn. The drugs are designed to relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease through various mechanisms. Since there are different types of drugs for acid reflux, the specific way they work is different for every antacid on the market. You instead have to consider the specific ingredients and the drug class of each antacid. For example, proton pump inhibitors have a different mechanism of action compared to H2 receptor blockers, magnesium hydroxide, and calcium carbonate antacids.

Other conditions are also treated with antacids. Patients with stomach ulcers, for example, may also benefit from certain antacids. Using antacids regularly helps to reduce the amount of acids that accumulate in the stomach. This may reduce the symptoms of the stomach ulcers, as pain and other effects may become worse in the presence of more stomach acids. Some people with stomach ulcers may also develop symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.

In certain cases, doctors may also prescribe antacids for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) along with gastritis. This condition refers to an inflammation that affects the lining of the stomach. The stomach lining plays an important role in the gastrointestinal tract. When the stomach lining becomes inflamed, there are several adverse effects that can occur. These individuals may experience frequent heartburn as a complication, which is often the case when there is a lot of gastric acid that builds up.

In cases where conditions increase acid secretion, the doctor may also suggest the use of prescription medical management options instead of OTC medications to treat the symptoms.

Types of antacids available online

The three major types of antacid medications are called systemic, nonsystemic, and complex antacids.

  • Systemic antacids

    Systemic antacids are most often used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease. These drugs primarily focus on improving the pH balance in the stomach by introducing alkalis to the patient's body. There are several types of systemic antacids, such as sodium bicarbonate, aluminum hydroxide, and magnesium trisilicate. These come in the form of chewable tablets as well as liquids, powders, and capsules. Aluminum containing antacids and sodium bicarbonate inhibits the production of gastric acid by neutralizing the acidity levels in the stomach.

    Systemic antacids are sometimes taken with other medications used to provide a more efficient treatment option for certain health conditions. For example, aluminum hydroxide could be used for immediate relief, while another medication helps to reduce inflammation in the stomach, which is a major cause behind the symptoms the patient experiences.

    Examples of systemic antacids include:

    • Magnesium

    • Aluminum

    • Calcium

    • Sodium bicarbonate

  • Nonsystemic antacids

    Nonsystemic antacids, also called non absorbable antacids, are often used to treat acid reflux symptoms. Examples of these drugs include:

    • Aluminum hydroxide

    • Magnesium hydroxide

    • Aluminum phosphate


    There are different mechanisms by which nonsystemic antacids work to treat acid reflux. They often neutralize a certain acid in the body, which is known as hydrochloric acid. Some of these drugs also bind to gastric acid and bile acids. In some cases, they may help to reduce the activity of pepsin enzymes and increase the local production of prostaglandin (PGE 1).

  • Complex antacids

    Complex antacids generally refer to the use of a combination therapy in order to help acid reflux and other symptoms. These medications are usually not available without a prescription. OTC medications may help, but people with more severe acid reflux or related symptoms may not more potent medications. A complex antacid may combine the use of both systemic and nonsystemic drugs to help.

  • Proton pump inhibitors

    Certain cases also exist where proton pump inhibitors may be provided as prescription medications. These drugs contain ingredients that inhibit the activity of specific enzymes in the stomach, which are classified as proton pumps. When a patient uses a proton pump inhibitor, about 70% of these pumps are blocked. This ensures there remains enough gastric acid to process the patient's foods.

    Proton pump inhibitors are sometimes also used to help people with stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. It is sometimes used with antibiotics to help treat infections caused by Helicobacter pylori.

    Examples of proton pump inhibitors include:

How antacids work

Antacids neutralize stomach acid by various mechanisms of action. Since there are different types of these drugs on the market, it is important to understand which one you use to better determine its actions.

A majority of antacids work by neutralizing stomach acids and other specific acids that are present in the stomach. Some of these antacids also work by stimulating the production of certain enzymes and by restoring a better balance in pH levels. Magnesium carbonate and other options like aluminum salts are sometimes combined to produce a more powerful effect on heartburn symptoms.

  • Side effects of antacids

    When taken as prescribed, antacids are generally well tolerated. However, they can still cause some side effects. Various antacids are available, and the side effects are generally not the same for acid reducers compared to proton pump inhibitors.

    The more common side effects of antacids include:

    It is important to note that some people have started to misuse these medications. This can cause more severe side effects associated with these anti-acidic drugs. For example, aluminum toxicity is risky if the patient frequently uses too many acid medications that contain aluminum hydroxide.

    Certain antacids contain calcium as an ingredient. Consistent use could make symptoms worse and lead to a problem known as alkalosis. This can reduce the production of acids to the point where it causes digestive problems in the patient.

    Patients are at risk of misuse with both over-the-counter (OTC) antacids and prescription options.

    In rare cases, antacids may cause serious side effects. These can include:

    • Kidney stones

    • Changes in the patient's mental status

    There is also a risk of an allergic reaction in some cases. This can cause hives, skin rashes, trouble breathing, and other side-effects.

  • Antacid risks

    Antacids are generally safe, but there are some risks if you have other medical conditions or take certain medications.

    Before you take a prescribed antacid, be sure to tell your doctor if you have any existing medical conditions.

    Some antacids contain an ingredient known as aspirin, which is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. If you have problems with bleeding, then the use of these antacids may make the condition worse.

    Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol regularly or other medicines with the antacid. Alcohol is known as an irritant in the gastrointestinal tract. If you combine alcohol with antacids, then you may experience acid rebound. This can also reduce the efficacy of the medication you use to reduce acids in your stomach.

    People with a history of bleeding disorders or a family history of stomach ulcers should tell their doctor. Your risk of bleeding due to the inclusion of aspirin or similar ingredients in antacids may increase significantly.

  • Antacid drug interactions 

    When you begin a new medication, make sure to tell your doctor about any other medications, supplements, or herbs you’re taking.

    Antacids do not only interfere with certain health conditions, but can also result in drug interactions. A drug interaction that involves antacids may cause changes to how either this drug or other medicines work. It may potentially reduce the efficacy of other drugs that you use to treat certain medical conditions.

    Tell your doctor about dietary supplements, over the counter medicines, and prescription drugs that you currently take. Your doctor will likely carefully assess all of these pills and medications, as this will give them a better idea about the risk of a drug interaction. Your doctor can also look for any potential culprits that could be causing your acid reflux when they analyze the dietary supplements and other medications that you currently take.

Antacids you can get online

Antacids FAQs

  • How should I take antacids?

    The ideal administration method largely depends on the specific antacid that you want to take. Some of these medications are taken by mouth with a glass of water. In this case, try to take the capsule or tablet with a full glass of water. Try to avoid drinking the capsule with anything other than water, as some drinks may cause a further alteration in your stomach acid's pH levels. Chewable tablets are easy for on-the-go usage. Simply place one in your mouth and suck or chew on it.

  • Who shouldn’t take antacids?

    Do not take antacids that contain aspirin if you have a history of bleeding disorders. You should also avoid antacids if you have a condition that requires a longer term treatment option. Using antacids regularly can cause certain adverse effects that can sometimes become serious.

  • How long does it take for antacids to work?

    It entirely depends on the active ingredients of the medication, as well as the type of antacid that you decide to use. Some of these medications work much faster than others. There are also many medicines that work in just a few minutes or seconds. These are fast relief options that get to work immediately as the ingredients enter your stomach.

  • What should I avoid with antacids?

    Do not combine different antacids together in order to produce a more powerful effect, even if you have severe acid reflux symptoms. Ask your doctor about the combination of different antacids. Try to avoid drinking alcohol when you use an antacid. You should also not take the antacid too far away from a meal.

  • What is the most popular antacid?

    Systemic and nonsystemic antacids are generally some of the most common options, especially since many of them are available as over-the-counter medicines.

  • When should antacids be used?

    Do not take antacids if they are not needed. This can cause abdominal pain or affect your stomach's ability to function correctly. Taking an antacid with food is best if you know your stomach may produce more acid than needed. Try not to take the medication a few hours after or before a meal to treat heartburn, but relatively close to the meal.

  • What is the safest antacid to take?

    Safety is a common concern and depends on the severity of the condition. Nonsystemic antacids are generally considered safe by peer-reviewed studies but should not be misused. Many systemic antacids can offer a safe way to reduce the burning sensation in your throat.

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Antacids pricing details

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