HOW DO ANTACID COMBOS WORK?
Antacid combos are a class of medications used to treat conditions caused by excess acid secretion by the stomach such as heartburn, upset stomach, and indigestion. In normal conditions, the stomach secretes an acid called ‘hydrochloric acid’ that helps to break down the proteins ingested through food. This acid causes the stomach contents to be acidic with a pH level of 2 or 3 (pH levels are a measure of acidity in the stomach: the lower the number, the greater the acidity). The gastrointestinal tract is normally protected from this acid by several mechanisms; however, in certain conditions when there is too much acid secretion or inadequate protective mechanisms, the lining of the gastrointestinal tract may be damaged, leading to inflammations and ulcerations.
Antacid combos may be used alone or with other medications that lower acid production (including H2 blockers such as cimetidine/ranitidine and proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole).
Antacid combo drugs are available as over-the-counter and prescription medicines; these are administered orally in the form of tablets, chewable tablets, and liquids (oral suspensions).
Antacid combos work in the following ways:
- They work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach (because the chemicals in antacids are bases [alkalis] which are the opposite of acids, a reaction between an acid and base is called neutralization), thus reducing the acidity in the stomach and the amount of acid that is refluxed into the esophagus (a muscular tube that connects the mouth and the stomach).
- They inhibit the activity of pepsin, a digestive enzyme produced in the stomach responsible for the proper digestion of food in normal circumstances.
- This enzyme when overactive can injure the lining of the gastrointestinal tract leading to inflammation and ulcerations.
HOW ARE ANTACID COMBOS USED?
Antacid combos are used in conditions such as:
- Heartburn (a burning sensation in the chest or throat caused by acid reflux)
- Acid reflux (includes regurgitation, bitter taste, persistent dry cough, pain when lying down, and trouble swallowing)
- Sour stomach
- Peptic ulcer disease (open sores, or ulcers, form in the stomach or the first part of the small intestine)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (a long-term condition where acid from the stomach comes up into the esophagus)
- Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
- Gastric hyperacidity (too much acid in the stomach)
- Esophagitis (any inflammation or irritation of the esophagus)
- Dyspepsia (a feeling of burning, pain, or discomfort in the digestive tract)
- Abdominal bloating
- Hiatal hernia (when the stomach bulges up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the two areas)
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF ANTACID COMBOS?
Common side effects include:
- Stomach cramps
- Chalky taste in the mouth
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Belching (burping)
- Dry mouth
Other rare side effects include:
- Rebound hyperacidity (a result of an overproduction of the stomach acid-stimulating hormone gastrin in response to acid suppression)
- Hypophosphatemia (low blood serum phosphate levels)
- Unusual tiredness
- Muscle weakness
- Osteomalacia (softening of the bones due to defective bone mineralization)
- Osteoporosis (bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue, typically as a result of hormonal changes or deficiency)
- Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels)
- Kidney stones
- Pyrexia (fever)
- Milk-alkali syndrome (includes headache, nausea, irritability, weakness, hypercalcemia [high blood calcium levels], and reduced function of the kidneys)
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
WHAT ARE NAMES OF ANTACID COMBOS?
Generic and brand names of antacid combo drugs include:
- Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium carbonate
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide/simethicone
- Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium trisilicate
- Calcium carbonate/magnesium hydroxide
- Citric acid/sodium bicarbonate
- Gaviscon Extra Strength Liquid
- Gaviscon Extra Strength Tablets
- Gaviscon Regular Strength Liquid
- Gaviscon Regular Strength Tablets
- Mylanta Supreme
- Omeprazole/sodium bicarbonate
- Rolaids Extra Strength
- Rolaids Regular Strength
- Rolaids Regular Strength Liquid
- Rolaids Ultra Strength
- Rolaids Ultra Strength Liquid
- Zegerid OTC
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