Antacids are one of the most common non-prescriptive drugs that are taken to relieve heartburn or acid reflux. This may come in tablet, chewing form or liquid form. Its components may also differ. Some antacids may have supplemental calcium, magnesium, some foaming agent and minerals that help neutralize stomach acids. They generally cost less and are easily available everywhere.
If you have been taking antacids for a long time, you might have to be aware on the effects of these drugs have on you. If you take antacids to quickly relieve heartburn and you take it every time it occurs, you are not curing your heartburn condition. The antacids may not have any more healthful effects to you thereby; you are at risk of worsening your condition.
Another risk of taking antacids is having side effects which include constipation or diarrhea. These are caused by calcium salts and magnesium contained in the antacids. Remember that ingredients which compose the antacids can affect or trigger other substances in the stomachs to result to side effects such as these. There is also a case of acid rebound which makes the stomach to produce more acids causing the heartburn to become worse. Antacids can also affect other medications that you are taking. Most antacids are harmless as long as you are aware of the right dosage that you are required to take. Take time to follow basic instructions of the time when to take it or not to take it. Don’t take antacids with milk because it can absorb antacids and reduce their effectivity.
There are different types of antacids and knowing about them would be beneficial to you:
• Sodium-bicarbonate with baking soda is good for quick relief of stomach upset. It should be taken for a very limited time only. It should not be taken too often because it can harm the heart. Because of its high sodium content, it can affect blood pressure, breakdown the mineral balance of the body, risk of kidney malfunction and increase UTI.
• Calcium bicarbonate with high calcium content and the risk factor here is constipation. It may lead to possible formation of kidney stones and kidney malfunction. It should not be taken too often because of these risks.
• Aluminum compound which is a slow-relieving type of antacid. It can cause constipation and it reduces calcium in the body.
• Magnesium compound type has high magnesium content and is considered as a laxative. This is not used for people with diabetes because these can cause risks of high blood pressure and heart failure. They are not recommended for the elderly because of other age-related disease. Some antacids have been found out to cause hip fracture among the elderly; and they presume this is due to reduce of calcium content in the body which antacids can absorb.
Remember that taking antacids is a quick fix to relieve acidity of the stomach. It is not a permanent cure. For prolonged stomach upsets, heartburn and other similar conditions, it would be wise to consult a doctor. If you need antacids it would also be good to consult a doctor who would supervise your medication.