The dose depends on the type of antacid. Consult specific references.
When using antacids in chewable tablet form, chew the tablet well before swallowing. Drink a glass of water after taking chewable aluminum hydroxide. Lozenges should be allowed to dissolve completely in the mouth. Liquid antacids should be shaken well before using.
Antacids should be avoided if any signs of appendicitis or inflamed bowel are present. These include cramping, pain, and soreness in the lower abdomen, bloating, and nausea and vomiting.
Antacids may affect the results of some medical tests, such as those that measure how much acid the stomach produces. Health care providers and patients should keep this in mind when scheduling a medical test.
Antacids that contain magnesium may cause diarrhea. Other types of antacids may cause constipation.
Avoid taking antacids containing sodium bicarbonate when the stomach is uncomfortably full from eating or drinking.
Antacids should not be given to children under six years of age.
Antacids that contain calcium or sodium bicarbonate may cause side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, in people who consume large amounts of calcium (from dairy products or calcium supplements). In some cases, this can lead to permanent kidney damage. Before combining antacids with extra calcium, check with a physician.
Some antacids contain large amounts of sodium, particularly sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Anyone who is on a low-sodium diet should check the list of ingredients or check with a physician or pharmacist before taking an antacid product.
Excessive use of antacids may cause or increase the severity or kidney problems. Calcium based antacids may lead to renal stone formation.
ALLERGIES. Allergies to antacids are extremely rare, however the inactive ingredients in some formulations may include dyes or other products with allergic potential.
PREGNANCY. Antacids are not classified under the pregnancy safety categories A, B, C, D and X. Occasional use of antacids in small amounts during pregnancy is considered safe. However, pregnant women should check with their physicians before using antacids or any other medicines. Pregnant women who are consuming extra calcium should be aware that using antacids that contain sodium bicarbonate or calcium can lead to serious side effects.
BREASTFEEDING. Some antacids may pass into breast milk. However, no evidence exists that the ingestion of antacids through breast milk causes problems for nursing babies whose mothers use antacids occasionally.
Samuel Uretsky PharmD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,