To be honest, I didn't think there was any real difference until I began googling this.
Rolaids =Calcium Carbonate / Magnesium Hydroxide
Tums = Calcium carbonate
What is it? Calcium carbonate, which acts as a buffer for acid.
Best for: Mild heartburn and on-demand use, but it may be cumbersome for chronic daily use because it only lasts about two to three hours.
Side effects: Rare: constipation, stomach pain, dry mouth, increased urination, metallic taste and kidney stones.
How to take: Can be taken when symptoms occur, on a regular basis with meals as a calcium supplement, or after meals to prevent heartburn. Should be taken with a large glass of water.
Warnings: Some mild drug interactions may reduce effectiveness of other medications. Anyone with kidney problems should check with their doctor before taking Tums.
What is it? Calcium carbonate mixed with magnesium hydroxide, which means two buffers for acid.
Best for: Mild heartburn and on-demand use, but it may be cumbersome for chronic daily use because of the amount you have to take to keep up relief.
Side effects: Same as Tums, plus possible constipation. However, the magnesium could lead to diarrhea for some people.
How to take: Same as Tums.
Warnings: Some mild drug interactions may reduce effectiveness of other medications; magnesium products may be dangerous in patients with kidney disease; if you've had heartburn for more than three months, or if it's accompanied by sweating or dizziness, see your doctor.
What is it? Histamine 2 receptor antagonist, which blocks acid secretion.
Best for: Mild-moderate gastroesophageal as an on-demand medicine or for chronic therapy. The onset of the action is 60 minutes, and it peaks at two hours. It will last for 12 hours.
Side effects: Headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, drowsiness, mild interaction with alcohol.
How to take: Can be taken before meals to prevent symptoms or on an empty stomach. Best effects are at night.
Warnings: Some mild drug interactions may reduce effectiveness of other medications. Rare: You may also experience bruising and bleeding from low platelets.
Also, from personal experience, if you end up with a grumpy stomach (i.e. 'sour stomach') look into taking a bit of ground ginger (tastes absolutely horrid and does burn a little if you take too much, so mix it in with a drink) or drink some Ginger Ale. May not be the best tasting thing ever, but I've personally found it works wonders on a grumpy tummy and acid reflux.
At the end of the day, take what works best for you personally, since what works for one person may not work the same way or another person.
Best of luck to you!
Search for questions
Still looking for answers? Try searching for what you seek or ask your own question.
Updated 23 Feb 2012 • 3 answers
Updated 1 May 2015 • 1 answer
Updated 18 Apr 2013 • 1 answer
Updated 12 Mar 2017 • 3 answers
Updated 8 Jan 2018 • 3 answers