Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
In this Article
- What are antacids, and how do they work?
- For what conditions are antacids used?
- Are there any differences among the different types of antacids?
- What are the warnings and precautions for antacids?
- What are the side effects of antacids?
- With which drugs do antacids interact?
- What antacids are available?
What are the warnings and precautions for antacids?
- Antacids (for example, calcium carbonate) when consumed in high doses and for long periods of time may cause acid rebound. Acid rebound is a condition in which the stomach produces even more acid after the consumption of foods and drinks. Fortunately, the effects of acid rebound are not clinically important.
- High-dose calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate when taken together can cause a condition called milk-alkali syndrome. Its symptoms include headache, nausea, irritability, and weakness, hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels), and reduced function of the kidneys.
- Extensive use of aluminum-containing antacids may cause hypophosphatemia (low phosphate levels in the blood), which in severe cases could lead to muscle weakness, anorexia, and osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to defective bone mineralization).
- Antacids containing aluminum hydroxide should be used with caution in patients who have recently suffered massive upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
- For patients with conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, renal failure and those who have sodium or salt-restricted diets, it is important to pay attention to the sodium level in sodium-based antacid preparations such as sodium bicarbonate
- Antacids should not be given to children under six years of age.
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