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Health Tip: Taking an Antacid

-- An over-the-counter antacid can help relieve mild cases of heartburn or acid reflux. And even though you don't need a doctor's prescription to obtain one, you should still understand what you're taking.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers this information about OTC antacids:

  • Talk to your doctor before you take one, since there are different types of antacids that work in different ways.
  • To manage an ulcer, an antacid may need to be taken in conjunction with an antibiotic. Again, speak with your doctor.
  • If you need more calcium to help strengthen bones, consider an antacid that contains calcium carbonate.
  • In some users, antacids may have minor side effects such as nausea, headache, diarrhea or constipation.
  • Read the label carefully to make sure you're not allergic to any of the ingredients.
  • People with kidney disease may not be able to take all types of antacids. Check with your doctor about what's safe for you.
  • An antacid may interact with other medications, so talk to your doctor before you take one to make sure you're not at risk.
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Posted: May 2009