The 7 Best Antacids of 2022, According to Gastroenterologists

Prilosec's Acid Reducer has omeprazole to reduce stomach acid

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When heartburn or acid indigestion strikes, you need something that settles your stomach ASAP, especially if you're experiencing pain or discomfort. It’s smart to have a reliable over-the-counter antacid on hand that can provide quick relief. These medications can decrease the amount of stomach acid you produce, says University of Missouri Health Care gastroenterologist Yezaz Ghouri, MD.

Reviewed & Approved

We recommend Pepto Bismol, because it's a great liquid option and can be used to treat diarrhea. Prilosec's Acid Reducer is a good proton pump inhibitor for people with chronic symptoms, because it's formulated with omeprazole to reduce stomach acid.

“The stomach normally produces hydrochloric acid to help digest food and kill bacteria or other organisms that may have been ingested along with the food,” Dr. Ghouri explains. “When there is an overproduction of the acid, it can lead to stomach discomfort.”

When buying an antacid, look for active ingredients that reduce stomach acid, such as calcium carbonate. Other common acid suppressors are H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors—both of which work to reduce or prevent the stomach from producing as much acid, often with the active ingredient omperazole. According to Matt Tompson, MD, a gastroenterologist with Houston Methodist, these are better for people with chronic acid reflux or chronic dyspepsia. We researched dozens of antacids and evaluated them for active ingredients, price, dosing schedule, flavor, and symptoms treated.

What to Look for in OTC Antacids

Active Ingredients

There are three main categories of OTC antacids, and which one you use may depend on the severity of your symptoms. If your symptoms are mild and intermittent, opt for an over-the-counter that neutralizes the acid with  with bismuth subsalicylate, calcium carbonate, or magnesium hydroxide. “Those are great choices for people who have the occasional heartburn or upset stomach after spicy food or something, and they just need a quick reliever,” Dr. Tompson says. 

If your symptoms are mild but persistent, choose an H2-receptor antagonist like famotidine.

If your symptoms are moderate to severe, you likely need a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole or esomeprazole, but if these symptoms persist, then it is recommended to consult with a doctor about your options. “If patients are having moderate to severe abdominal pain, they should consult with a healthcare provider,” says Elliott Birnstein, MD, a gastroenterologist at UCLA Health Downtown LA.

Dosage

How often do you have symptoms? It’s an important question to answer when choosing an antacid, since different products last for different lengths of time. Some are 12- or 24-hour, so you’ll only need to take them once or twice per day, but others last just a few hours, so you’ll need to keep them handy for re-dosing, if necessary. 

If you only have heartburn when you eat certain foods, a short-acting antacid should work fine—but if your indigestion is chronic, you’ll want a longer-lasting formula. 

“Each medication has its own recommended dosage, so patients should read the label and/or consult with the pharmacist to confirm the appropriate dosing regimen,” Dr. Birnstein says. “If patients’ symptoms do not improve within two to three days, they should consult with a healthcare provider.”

Side Effects

Antacids aren’t safe for everyone to take, says Dr. Ghouri, and there may be side effects. Bismuth subsalicylate and calcium carbonate can cause constipation, while proton pump inhibitors carry a risk of bone fractures, vitamin deficiencies, and kidney disease, though this isn’t typical with short-term use. 

“The incidence of these severe side effects is generally low and requires long-term use of these medications,” explains Dr. Ghouri. “In general, it is recommended to speak to a physician before initiating therapy with antacids, especially for the long term.”

Overall, antacids tend to be safe for most patients. However, people can experience some side effects if they take more than what the dosage advises. “If patients consume more than the recommended amount, they may encounter side effects related to the main active ingredient in the medications,” Dr. Birnstein says. “For example, too much of a magnesium-containing antacid may cause diarrhea.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do antacids cause constipation?

    You’re trying to relieve GI issues, not create new ones, but taking certain antacids can lead to constipation, especially if you’re taking them around the clock or using more than the recommended amount. 

    Antacids containing calcium carbonate, like TUMS, Pepto Bismol, and some proton pump inhibitors, can cause constipation. “Occasionally, you will see a patient get diarrhea from the medication,” Dr. Tompson says. He’s found that some patients can also experience relief from constipation they are experiencing after taking these medications, but that relief should not sway patients toward taking antacids. 

    Talk to your doctor if you think your antacid is making it more difficult for you to have regular bowel movements.

  • Do antacids help with gas?

    Antacids can help with gas, but it’s not a symptom addressed by all OTC antacids. Proton pump inhibitors don’t specifically target gas and bloating, but antacids containing simethicone, bismuth subsalicylate, or magnesium can relieve gas symptoms in addition to reflux and indigestion. “Some antacids may contain magnesium, which will have a laxative effect at certain dosages,” Dr. Birnstein says.

  • When is the best time to take antacids?

    Timing for these medications will often depend on which type of antacid you are taking. “As far as antacids that are neutralizers, then those are best taken when you have symptoms,” Dr. Tompson says. Taking those medications as needed works well to relieve symptoms when they start. 

    “H2 blockers don’t have any particular preferable time of day to take them. It is really the patient's preference,” he adds. 

    But proton pump inhibitors tend to work best for people when they are consumed in the morning before eating. This is because it halts the production of acid before you consume something that could trigger the reaction. “The proton inhibitors tend to work more efficiently if they are taking them about 30 minutes before breakfast,” Dr. Tompson says. “If you want to maximize the efficiency, then about a half-hour before breakfast is ideal.”

Here are the best antacids on the market.

Best Overall: Pepto Bismol Original Liquid

 Pepto-Bismol Original

Amazon

Pros
  • Coats the stomach 

  • Soothes heartburn

  • Treats multiple symptoms, including diarrhea

Cons
  • Potent flavor

  • May cause constipation with overuse

What do buyers say? 87% of 16,200+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

Our top pick is none other than iconic than Pepto Bismol, with its fluorescent pink color, chalky texture, and minty (or cherry) flavor. It’s been around forever, and that’s because it works. Dr. Ghouri recommends that people with mild, intermittent heartburn turn to this recognizable option, which treats nausea and diarrhea symptoms, too.

Pepto Bismol, or bismuth subsalicylate, is available in a few different formulations—like chewable tablets and capsules—but the liquid variety really cools the burn as it goes down. Once it’s ingested, it coats your stomach and reduces inflammation, which can also deter your stomach from overproducing acid.

You can take two tablespoons of the liquid every 30 to 60 minutes, as needed, for up to eight doses in 24 hours. Note that taking Pepto Bismol consistently can cause constipation. Additionally, you should speak to a doctor before giving Pepto Bismol to a child or teenager also exhibiting flu-like or chicken pox symptoms.

Active Ingredients: Bismuth subsalicylate 525 mg | Dosage: 30 mL every 30 minutes as needed, not exceeding 240 mL in 24 hours | Uses: Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, and diarrhea

Best Proton Pump Inhibitor: Prilosec OTC Delayed Release Acid Reducer

Prilosec OTC

Amazon

Pros
  • Reduces stomach acid

  • Easy dosing schedule

  • One of the first proton pump inhibitors created

Cons
  • May not be as strong as some other brands

  • May not start working until 14 days

Prilosec (or omeprazole) is an easy-to-find proton pump inhibitor category, which means it reduces the amount of food-digesting acid produced by the cells in your stomach lining. It also happens to be Dr. Ghouri’s personal favorite.

“Omeprazole was one of the first antacids in the class of drugs called 'proton pump inhibitors,' and while some of the newer ones like esomeprazole and dexlansoprazole are considered to be more potent, omeprazole is usually sufficient in controlling symptoms in a majority of cases,” Dr. Ghouri says. 

If you’re accustomed to taking an antacid when symptoms strike, you’ll want to note the different dosage instructions for Prilosec, since they are best for people with chronic symptoms. Take one pill a day for 14 days, every four months (or up to three times per year). It may take the full 14 days before you feel the full effects of the drug, but once it kicks in, you should have fewer symptoms of heartburn and acid indigestion until it’s time for your next course.

Active Ingredients: Omeprazole 20 mg | Dosage: 1 tablet every day for 14 days | Uses: Heartburn and acid indigestion

Expert Insight

“Proton pump inhibitors are the strongest medicines we have for reflux, and other options should be tried first, including histamine blockers like famotidine.”—Dr. Bryan Curtin, Director of The Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore

Best Flavored Antacid: TUMS Chewy Bites Antacid Tablets

 TUMS Chewy Bites Antacid Tablets

Amazon

Pros
  • Easily chewable tablets

  • Smooth, fruity flavor

Cons
  • Neutralizes stomach acid but doesn’t prevent symptoms

  • May cause constipation with overuse

Among the quickest remedies that you can carry with you while on the go for acid reflux and heartburn are the TUMS Chewy Bites Antacid Tablets. Not only will they provide you quick relief to whatever symptoms you might be feeling, but the tablets also taste good. 

These tablets, which come in an assortment of berry flavors, are made with calcium carbonate. That mineral is essential to neutralize the acid in the stomach and esophagus that is causing the uncomfortable symptoms.

For best results, take two to four tablets when you begin to notice symptoms. You can continue to use the TUMS as needed until the symptoms cease.

Active Ingredients: Calcium carbonate 750 mg | Dosage: 2 to 4 tablets as needed, not exceeding 6 tablets in 24 hours | Uses: Heartburn and acid indigestion

What the Experts Say

“Generally, patients [can] start by taking something like TUMS or Pepto Bismol since they are more readily available and don’t have too many side effects.”—Dr. Bryan Curtin, Director of The Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore

Best Chewable Antacid: Rolaids Extra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets

Rolaids Extra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets

Amazon

Pros
  • Works quickly to reduce stomach acid

  • Magnesium can help with constipation

  • Multiple flavors and formulations

Cons
  • Neutralizes stomach acid but doesn’t prevent symptoms

Rolaids Extra Strength Antacid Chewable Tablets incorporate two key ingredients—magnesium and calcium carbonate—to give you fast relief from heartburn, nausea, and other acid-reflux-related symptoms that can happen throughout the day. 

Magnesium is an ingredient found in many different acid reflux medications. When combined with active ingredients like like calcium carbonate, this combination helps neutralize the stomach acid in both the stomach and esophagus. Together, they can ease feelings of discomfort and nausea.

One bonus of this medication is that it comes in a soothing mint flavor. The tablet is also chewable, making it easier for people who do not want to swallow a pill when they are looking to get some relief from their symptoms.

Active Ingredients: Calcium carbonate 675 mg, magnesium hydroxide 135 mg | Dosage: 2 to 4 tablets as needed, not exceeding 10 tablets in 24 hours | Uses: Heartburn and acid indigestion

Best for GERD: Nexium 24HR Acid Reducer Heartburn Relief Capsules

Nexium 24-Hour

Amazon

Pros
  • Highly effective for reflux symptoms

  • Symptom prevention

  • Easy dosing schedule

Cons
  • May cause constipation

  • May not be safe for people with existing conditions

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by stomach acid rising all the way up into your esophagus, throat, and mouth, and it can cause a painful burning sensation, belching, and difficulty swallowing. If you experience these symptoms, then you may also experience acid reflux and heartburn. 

GERD often requires lifestyle and diet changes to experience long-term relief. But OTC medication, specifically a proton pump inhibitor, can be a good option for people to find some relief from the symptoms as well. Nexium 24HR Acid Reliever works by blocking acid production to protect the body from symptoms like heartburn. The best part is that Nexium boasts long-lasting relief beyond other OTC medications on the market.

It is important to remember that while Nexium can help relieve symptoms for those who suffer from GERD, it is also imperative to implement diet and lifestyle changes to manage the disease in the long term.

Active Ingredients: Esomeprazole 20 mg | Dosage: 1 capsule every day for 14 days | Uses: Frequent or chronic heartburn

Best for Kids: Mylicon Children's Tummy Relief

 Children's Mylicon Tummy Relief for Kids

Amazon

Pros
  • Safe for kids as young as 2 years old

  • Reduces acid and fights gas

Cons
  • Can cause constipation with overuse

Some babies are born into this world with extra-sensitive stomachs, and as a parent, you need to know what treatments, remedies, and medications are safe for your little one’s tummy troubles. 

Thankfully, Mylicon understands this parental dilemma; they’ve been making simethicone drops for babies suffering from painful gas between feedings for years, but they also offer a children’s antacid, so there’s a way to help older kids, too. 

Containing acid-reducing calcium carbonate and gas-busting simethicone, the antacid works well for kids with occasional indigestion (like ones who overdo it on the ice cream cake) as well as for kids who have more frequent stomach aches.

The tablets are free of gluten, saccharin, alcohol, and artificial flavors. They can be used by kids between the ages of 2 and 11. Younger kids can take one tablet three times per day, and older kids can take two tablets up to six times per day.

Active Ingredients: Calcium carbonate 400 mg, simethicone 40 mg | Dosage: 1 tablet every 8 hours for kids aged 2 to 5, 2 tablets every 4 hours for kids aged 6 to 11 | Uses: Bloating, gas, and indigestion in kids

Best With Added Benefits: Maty’s All Natural Acid & Indigestion Relief

Maty’s All Natural Acid & Indigestion Relief

Amazon

Pros
  • Drug-free, natural alternative

  • No aluminum, talc, dairy, or gluten

  • Safe to use every day

Cons
  • May not be effective as traditional products

  • Some users reported worsening of reflux symptoms

If you feel squeamish about the thought of adding more medications to your daily routine to treat your heartburn and indigestion symptoms, a drug-free, all-natural alternative like Maty’s could be a good option for you. 

With tummy-friendly ingredients known to reduce stomach acid, relieve constipation, and reduce bloating, this supplement might help you prevent some of your most frequent symptoms—all while letting you reap the benefits of a few superfoods, like turmeric, ginger, and apple cider vinegar. While there isn’t a ton of evidence confirming the benefits of these ingredients, many researchers have suggested that these ingredients can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and improve circulation (in addition to potentially relieving your heartburn and indigestion).

If you take other medications contraindicated for use with many common OTC antacids or have experienced constipation with many other treatments, a drug-free option can help you avoid interactions and side effects.

Active Ingredients: None | Dosage: 2 capsules with meals or as needed | Uses: Heartburn and acid indigestion

Final Verdict

If your indigestion only pops up once in a while, we recommend Pepto Bismol for quick relief that also has a cooling effect on your throat and stomach. For more chronic sufferers, Prilosec OTC is Dr. Ghouri’s go-to recommendation for symptoms of indigestion, because it works well and is available in a generic formulation, making it accessible and affordable.

How We Selected the Antacids

When selecting antacids to treat symptoms like acid reflux and heartburn, we spoke with gastroenterologists about their recommendations. We then spent hours combing the web for the best and most effective products. We determined which ones to feature based on key criteria recommended by the experts: symptoms, dosage, and medical history. 

Throughout our research, we compared the antacid's benefits to its symptom relief and price. While some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to give a wide range of options that would fit all needs and budgets. Based on all of these factors, we compiled this list of the best antacids to treat symptoms related to acid reflux and heartburn.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.

Additional reporting by Danielle Zoellner

As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding just the right product to fit your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the medical and health fields while reviewing dozens of products. Her experience and knowledge in the field work together to help readers like you find the best products for your daily life.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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