Antacids are medicines that neutralize the acid in the stomach, and they appear in the form of bottled liquids or chewable tablets that can be bought from pharmacies and convenience stores without a prescription. Lately, antacids are becoming a more common way of treating heartburn and indigestions due to its ease of access. The World Health Organization reported more than $10 billion is spent on antacid globally every year.
On top of that, more than 2.8 million people in the United Kingdom consume Rennie, a brand of antacid, alone. There are two main types of antacids: alkali and alginates. Rennie contains alkali which neutralizes stomach acid while Gaviscon contains alginates which form a raft on top of stomach contents, preventing acid reflux. The main issue is when consumers do not correctly consume antacids and often ignore small prints. Some antacids such as Alka Seltzer contain aspirin, and according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), excessive aspirin can lead to stomach bleeding.
Researchers found that many people with recurring heartburn resort to self-treatment instead of going to the doctor. They fail to realize that they are treating a symptom and not a disease. In older people, indigestion and heartburn could indicate stomach ulcer, but the use of antacid to treat these symptoms will only mask them. With the concerning consequences, reliance on antacid needs to be reduced and consumed more responsibly. Consumers should only consume antacids when necessary and always read the label beforehand. However, if the symptoms persist, they should consult a doctor immediately to rule out any serious possibilities.