Maalox, Tums, Geltazine and Other Antacid Dangers

Phoenix MontoyaStarred Page By Phoenix Montoya, 19th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Drugs & Medicines

Popular antacids as the Aluminum-magnesium combination (Maalox), Calcium carbonate (Tums) and the others maybe the weakest drug for hyperacidity but they have their own warnings too. Read on.

Antacid facts

Antacids are normally non-prescription drugs. They have been known as relievers for hyperacidity associated with peptic ulcer, gastritis, esophagitis and dyspepsia. They are used in combination with an h2 receptor antagonist (ranitidine, cimetidine) or a proton-pump inhibitor (omeprazole, esomeprazole) as supplements for faster relief of ulcer symptoms.

Common antacids

Aluminum hydroxide gel – Alutab
Magnesium hydroxide - Mag-Ox 400, Phillips Milk of Magnesia, Mag-Gel 600
Aluminum-magnesium combination – Maalox, Alumag
Aluminum-magnesium combination plus simethicone – Maalox plus
Aluminum-magnesium combination plus oxethazaine - Geltazine
Bismuth subsalicylate - Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate, Kapectolin
Calcium carbonate – Tums, Osteo D
Sodium Bicarbonate – Rhea, United home
Megaldrate - Riopan
Calcium carbonate - Magnesium hydroxide - Rolaids
Magnesium Hydroxide - Aluminum Hydroxide - Diovol

Antacids as the weakest drug selection for gastrointestinal disorders

Antacids work by neutralizing excess acid in the stomach. But compared to H2 receptor antagonist and PPIs, antacids have shorter influence on acidity. They are regarded as the weakest drug selection for gastrointestinal disorders. On the contrary, weak as they may seem, antacids may have some untoward effects that can be also hazardous.

Antacids may cause diarrhea or constipation

While aluminum based antacids (Alutab) can cause constipation, magnesium based only (Mag-Ox 400) can result to diarrhea. Choose a combination of the two. Although there can be still chances of diarrhea or constipation with the aluminum-magnesium combination (Maalox), risks are minimal. Megaldrate (Riopan) is known to cause diarrhea or constipation.

Antacids can cause bleeding

If you have Hemophilia or bleeding tendency or you take aspirin other anticoagulant for some health conditions. Bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate, Kapectolin) is not the right choice. The salicylate in this medicine may increase the chance of bleeding.

Antacids may cause congestive heart failure

Sodium bicarbonate can elevate bicarbonate or sodium in the body. Avoid prolonged use of this antacid. In presence of heart disease, magnesium based antacids should also be considered. This drug can also make the heart condition worse.

Antacids can have a negative effect on other drugs

Antacids should be given on an empty stomach. It should be taken thirty minutes before meals or one and a half hours after eating. Food hinders the efficacy of antacid. More to these antacids are apt to interact with other medications. When this happens, its either one drug hinders the effect of the other or adds up the action of another. With the latter, risks of side effects may be greater.

Antacids may not be good for treating GERD

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates or backs up into the esophagus. The liquid containing acid and pepsin, can inflame and damage the lining of the esophagus.

Calcium-based antacids (Tums, Osteo D) can stimulate the release of gastrin from the stomach and duodenum. Gastrin is the hormone that is responsible for the stimulation of acid secretion by the stomach. Thus, the emission of acid rebounds after the direct acid-neutralizing effect of the calcium carbonate is exhausted. The rebound is due to the release of gastrin, which results in an overproduction of acid. And an increased acid is not good for GERD.

Antacids may cause Osteomalacia

Osteomalacia is a disease characterized by the softening of the bones due to defective bone mineralization. Besides inadequate intake of vitamin D, phosphate deficiency is also one of the causes of osteomalacia. Prolonged use of aluminum-magnesium antacid may result to this disease. These drugs tend to bind phosphate in the gut, thus preventing its absorption into the body.


Antacids are meant to be used only occasionally. They should not be taken continuously for more than a week unless directed by a doctor. Taking antacids over a long period of time can mask the symptoms of a serious stomach or intestinal problem such as peptic ulcer disease. Old people should be careful in particular, as they may have ulcers without showing the usual symptoms.

©Phoenix Montoya @ November 4, 2010

MIMS online
PPDr 5th Edition
Wilson and Gisvold’s Textbook of Organic Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry 9th edition
Antacid tablets image
Tums image
Maalox plus image

More drug articles by this author:
Is a Generic Drug Effective as a Branded Type?
Ibuprofen Capsule Facts and Safety
Buclizine, Lysine, Pizotifen and Dibencozide Facts

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Aluminum-Magnesium, Antacid, Bismuth Subsalicylate, Calcium Carbonate, Gerd, H2 Receptor Antagonist, Maalox, Mag-Gel 600, Mag-Ox 400, Osteomalacia, Peptic Ulcer, Phillips Milk Of Magnesia, Proton-Pump Inhibitors, Side Effects, Tums

Meet the author

author avatar Phoenix Montoya
Phoenix is a drug trader and a small time computer service entrepreneur. She enjoys writing about medicine, animals, music, current issues and other stuff. She is also a fan of creative writing.

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author avatar Buzz
20th Jul 2011 (#)

I'm kinda dumb when it comes to medicines but your definitions and lucid descriptions have made each term very clear to me. No wonder your article got a star page. Thanks kabayan. Hope to be able to see you in Manila sometime.

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author avatar Anne Janette Mccoy
5th Aug 2011 (#)

You really need to take antibiotics if ur uneasy or having painful problem with ur body

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author avatar Bruce
27th Sep 2013 (#)

Interesting article with lots of cautions here. Doing research on constant heartburn for which I take antacids and came up with this interesting video about heartburn myths which might resonate with others like it did with me. Good luck with your battle!

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