gaviscon

What is Gaviscon

Gaviscon is a type of medicine called a ‘reflux suppressant’ that is indicated for the treatment of heartburn (acid reflux) and indigestion. Acid reflux (heartburn) is when stomach acid travels up your food pipe (esophagus) and gives you a burning feeling in your chest. Reflux suppressants like Gaviscon contain alginic acid which is made from seaweed. Alginic acid makes a protective foam layer that floats on top of the contents of your stomach. This stops stomach acid escaping into your food pipe. Gaviscon also contains an antacid that neutralizes excess stomach acid and reduces pain and discomfort.

There are different types of Gaviscon. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which one is best for you.

Gaviscon is used for the relief of:

  • heartburn
  • acid indigestion
  • sour stomach
  • upset stomach associated with these symptoms

Gaviscon comes as tablets or liquid in bottles or sachets. It also comes as a powder for babies and children under 2 years old.

You can buy Gaviscon from pharmacies and supermarkets. Some kinds of Gaviscon are available on prescription.

Key facts

  • It’s usual to take Gaviscon after meals and at bedtime.
  • Do not give Gaviscon to a child under 12 years old, unless their doctor prescribes it.
  • It’s safe to take paracetamol at the same time as Gaviscon but don’t have ibuprofen or aspirin with it.
  • If you’ve bought Gaviscon without a prescription, do not take it for longer than 7 days without checking with a doctor.
  • There are many different types of Gaviscon. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which one is best for you.

When will I feel better after taking Gaviscon?

You should start to feel better soon after taking a dose of Gaviscon. The effect of 1 dose should last for around 4 hours.

If you’ve bought Gaviscon to treat yourself and you don’t feel better after taking it for 7 days, tell your doctor. They may want to do tests or try a different medicine.

Can I drink alcohol with Gaviscon?

Alcohol doesn’t interfere with the way Gaviscon works. But drinking alcohol makes your stomach produce more acid than normal. This can irritate your stomach lining and make your symptoms worse.

Is it safe to take Gaviscon for a long time?

Gaviscon doesn’t usually cause problems when you take it for a long time. Tell your doctor if you need to take it regularly for more than a week.

Are there other indigestion medicines?

There are a number of different medicines for indigestion and heartburn.

  • Antacids include Tums (calcium carbonate), Maalox and Milk of Magnesia. These relieve indigestion and heartburn by neutralising the acid in your stomach. They work quickly and make you feel better for a few hours. They’re ideal if you occasionally get stomach acid problems. You can get antacids from pharmacies and supermarkets.
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. Most PPIs are available on prescription only – they include omeprazole and lansoprazole. You can buy the lowest strength omeprazole and esomeprazole from pharmacies.
  • Histamine antagonists (also called H2 blockers) reduce the amount of acid made in your stomach, but they do this in a different way to PPIs. For example, your doctor might prescribe ranitidine (Zantac), cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid) and nizatidine (Axid). You can also buy famotidine and ranitidine from pharmacies.

Can I take Gaviscon with a proton pump inhibitor?

If your doctor has prescribed a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), such as lansoprazole, to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces, you can take Gaviscon with it. But take these two medicines separately, leaving a gap of 2 hours between them.

How do I come off Gaviscon?

Usually you can stop taking Gaviscon without reducing the dose first.

If you’ve taken Gaviscon regularly for a long time, talk to your doctor before you stop taking it. Stopping suddenly may mean that the acid stomach contents come up into your food pipe and make your symptoms come back.

Are there other medicines similar to Gaviscon?

Yes, there are similar medicines to Gaviscon. Examples are Acidex (Calcium carbonate + Sodium alginate + Sodium bicarbonate) and Peptac (Calcium carbonate + Sodium alginate + Sodium bicarbonate).

Like Gaviscon, these medicines are reflux suppressants. They work in the same way as Gaviscon, to reduce acid in your stomach and prevent excess acid escaping into your food pipe. They generally work as well as Gaviscon and have similar side effects. However, they may be given in different doses to Gaviscon.

Sometimes, if Gaviscon doesn’t work or agree with you, your doctor or pharmacist may suggest another reflux suppressant. Like Gaviscon, you can buy Peptac or Acidex from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Is the Gaviscon I buy the same as on prescription?

Doctors can only prescribe some kinds of Gaviscon – not the full range available from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Different kinds of Gaviscon contain different ingredients. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you get a medicine that suits you.

Can I drive or ride a bike?

Yes, taking Gaviscon shouldn’t affect your ability to drive or ride a bike.

Can lifestyle changes help with heartburn and indigestion?

Making a few changes to your diet and lifestyle may help if you have problems caused by too much stomach acid.

It can help if you:

  • keep to a healthy weight or lose weight if you need to – extra weight can put pressure on your stomach and make acid reflux worse
  • don’t eat foods that can make your symptoms worse, including rich, spicy and fatty foods, and acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, salad dressings and fizzy drinks
  • cut down on caffeinated drinks, such as tea, coffee and cola, as well as alcohol and smoking
  • try not to eat for at least 3 hours before you go to bed
  • raise the head of your bed a little
  • stop smoking

Who can and can’t take Gaviscon

Gaviscon can be taken by adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.

If your baby or child has problems with reflux or indigestion, talk to your doctor as soon as you can. Only treat them with Gaviscon if their doctor prescribes it.

  • Never give Gaviscon to children under 12 years old, unless their doctor prescribes it.

To make sure a particular medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have:

  • had an allergic reaction to Gaviscon or any other medicines in the past
  • been advised to eat a low calcium or low salt diet
  • kidney or heart disease
  • phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare but potentially serious inherited disorder. People with Phenylketonuria (PKU) can’t break down the amino acid phenylalanine, which then builds up in the blood and brain. This can lead to brain damage.
  • low levels of phosphate in your blood

Gaviscon in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Tell your doctor if you’re trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or if you’re breastfeeding.

Usually Gaviscon is safe to take during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant, it’s best to try to treat indigestion without taking a medicine. For example, it can help to:

  • eat smaller meals more often
  • avoid fatty or spicy foods
  • raise the head of your bed a little

If this doesn’t work, your doctor or midwife may recommend a medicine like Gaviscon.

Gaviscon and Breastfeeding

Gaviscon is safe to take while you’re breastfeeding.

However, if your baby is premature or has health problems, check with your doctor first.

Cautions with other medicines

For safety, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.

Some medicines must not be taken at the same time as Gaviscon. This is because the medicines can interfere with each other.

Don’t take Gaviscon within 2 hours before or after taking:

  • antihistamines
  • some antibiotics (quinolones and tetracyclines)
  • iron tablets
  • medicines to treat fungal infections
  • beta-blockers (for heart problems)
  • penicillamine (for rheumatoid arthritis)
  • steroids (for inflammatory and autoimmune disorders)
  • antipsychotic medicines (for mental health problems like bipolar disease and schizophrenia)
  • chloroquine (for malaria)
  • estramustine (for prostate cancer)
  • bisphosphonates such as alendronic acid (to treat and prevent bone problems such as osteoporosis)
  • levothyroxine
  • a protein pump inhibitor (PPI) such as omeprazole and lansoprazole

It’s safe to take paracetamol at the same time as Gaviscon. Do not take other painkillers, like ibuprofen or aspirin, with Gaviscon without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. These can make your symptoms worse.

Mixing Gaviscon with herbal remedies and supplements

There are no known problems with taking herbal remedies and supplements alongside Gaviscon.

Gaviscon vs Maalox

Maalox is a drug indicated for the treatment of heartburn (acid reflux) and indigestion. Maalox active ingredients (in each 5 mL teaspoon) are Aluminum hydroxide (equivalent to dried gel, USP) 200 mg + Magnesium hydroxide 200 mg + Simethicone 20 mg

Simethicone is used to treat the symptoms of gas such as uncomfortable or painful pressure, fullness, and bloating.

Simethicone allows gas bubbles in the stomach and intestines to come together more easily, which allows for easier passage of gas.

Simethicone is used to relieve painful pressure caused by excess gas in the stomach and intestines. Simethicone is for use in babies, children, and adults.

Maalox is used for the relief of:

  • acid indigestion
  • heartburn
  • sour stomach
  • upset stomach associated with these symptoms
  • pressure and bloating commonly referred to as gas

Inactive ingredients: butylparaben, carboxymethylcellulose sodium, flavor, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, propylparaben, purified water, saccharin sodium, simethicone emulsion, sorbitol

Other information

  • each teaspoon contains: calcium 25 mg and magnesium 85 mg
  • store at 20°-25°C (68°-77°F)
  • does not meet USP requirements for preservative effectiveness

Maalox Directions of Use

  • shake well before using
  • Adults and children 12 years and older: take 2-4 tsp (10-20 mL) up to 4 times a day or as directed by a doctor
  • Children under 12: ask a doctor

Maalox Warnings

Ask a doctor before use if you have:

  • kidney disease
  • a magnesium-restricted diet

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are:

  • now taking a prescription drug. Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.

When using Maalox

  • do not exceed 16 teaspoonsful (80 mL) in a 24-hour period or use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks unless directed by a doctor

Keep out of reach of children.

gaviscon

How and when to take Gaviscon

It’s usual to take Gaviscon up to 4 times a day. It’s best to take it after meals and at bedtime. This is usually when the pain and discomfort is worst. If your doctor has prescribed Gaviscon, take it when they tell you to.

You can get Gaviscon as tablets. You can also get it as a liquid in bottles or sachets.

It comes as a powder for babies and children under 2 years old. You mix the powder with cool boiled water or formula milk.

How much should I take?

The dose depends on the type of Gaviscon you’re taking. Follow the instructions on the packaging or, if your doctor has prescribed it, take the dose they tell you to.

How often should I have Gaviscon?

  • If you get occasional mild heartburn or indigestion, only take Gaviscon when you need it.
  • If you often have heartburn or indigestion, take Gaviscon regularly after meals and at bedtime – up to 4 times a day – whether or not you have symptoms.
  • If you’ve been taking Gaviscon for more than 7 days and you’re still feeling uncomfortable or in pain, talk to your doctor.

How long will I take Gaviscon for?

Depending on the reason you’re taking Gaviscon, you may only need it when you have symptoms. Or you may need to take it for a few weeks or months – or for many years.

Talk to your doctor about what is best for you.

What if I forget to take Gaviscon?

If you usually take Gaviscon regularly but forget to take a dose, don’t double your dose the next time. Just leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.

What if I take too much?

Taking too much Gaviscon by accident may cause side effects such as wind and bloating (when your tummy feels tight and full of gas). This is unlikely to cause you any harm. If you are worried, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Gaviscon dosage

Gaviscon Liquids

Gaviscon Regular Strength Liquid active ingredients (in each 15 mL tablespoonful) are Aluminum hydroxide 95 mg + Magnesium carbonate 358mg

  • Inactive ingredients (Regular Strength): benzyl alcohol, D&C yellow #10, edetate disodium, FD&C blue #1, flavor, glycerin, saccharin sodium, sodium alginate, sorbitol solution, water, xanthan gum
  • Each tablespoon (15mL) contains: magnesium 115mg, sodium 52mg
  • Store at up to 25°C (77°F); avoid freezing
  • Keep tightly closed

Gaviscon Extra Strength Liquid active ingredients (in each 5 mL teaspoonful) are Aluminum hydroxide 254 mg + Magnesium carbonate 237.5mg

  • Inactive ingredients (Extra Strength): benzyl alcohol, edetate disodium, flavor, glycerin, saccharin sodium, simethicone emulsion, sodium alginate, sorbitol solution, water, xanthan gum
  • Each teaspoon (5mL) contains: magnesium 80mg, sodium 14mg
  • Store at up to 25°C (77°F); avoid freezing
  • Keep tightly closed

Gaviscon Liquids Directions of Use

  • Shake well.
  • Take after meals or at bedtime.
  • Dispense product only by spoon or other measuring device provided.
  • Take 1-2 tablespoons (15ml to 30ml) 4x a day for Regular Strength 
  • OR
  • 2-4 teaspoonfuls (10ml to 20ml) 4x a day for Extra Strength, or as directed by a doctor.

Gaviscon Liquid Warnings

  • Do not use if you have kidney disease

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are:

  • taking a prescription drug. Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.
  • if you are on a sodium-restricted diet

When using this product (Regular Strength)

  • do not take more than 8 tablespoonfuls in 24 hours
  • do not use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks
  • laxative effect may occur

When using this product (Extra Strength)

  • do not take more than 16 teaspoonfuls in 24 hours
  • do not use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks except under the advice and supervision of a doctor
  • laxative effect may occur

Keep out of reach of children.

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Gaviscon Chewable Tablets

Gaviscon Regular Strength Chewable Tablet active ingredients (in each tablet) are dried Aluminum hydroxide gel 80mg + Magnesium trisilicate 14.2mg

  • Inactive ingredients (Regular Strength): acesulfame k, alginic acid, artificial flavor, calcium stearate, corn starch, corn syrup solids, mannitol, sodium bicarbonate, stearic acid, sucrose
  • Each tablet contains: magnesium 5mg, sodium 21 mg
  • Store at up to 25°C (77°F) in a dry place

Gaviscon Extra Strength Chewable Tablet active ingredients (in each tablet) are Aluminum hydroxide 160 mg + Magnesium carbonate 105mg

  • Inactive ingredients (Extra Strength): alginic acid, calcium stearate, flavor, sodium bicarbonate, and sucrose. May contain stearic acid. Contains sorbitol or mannitol. May contain starch.
  • Each tablet contains: magnesium 35mg, sodium 20mg
  • Store at up to 25°C (77°F) in a dry place

Gaviscon Chewable Tablets Directions of Use

  • DO NOT SWALLOW WHOLE.
  • Chew 2-4 tablets after meals and at bedtime as needed (up to 4x a day), or as directed by a doctor. For best results follow by a half glass of water or other liquid.
  • Do not take more than 16 Regular Strength tablets in 24 hours.

Gaviscon Regular Strength Chewable Tablets Warnings

Do NOT use

  • for peptic ulcers
  • if you have trouble swallowing

Ask a doctor before use if you have:

  • kidney disease
  • a sodium restricted diet

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • are taking a prescription drug. Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • heartburn or stomach pain continues
  • you need to take this product for more than 14 days

Keep out of reach of children.

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Gaviscon Extra Strength Chewable Tablets Warnings

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before use if you are:

  • taking a prescription drug. Antacids may interact with certain prescription drugs.
  • if you are on a sodium-restricted diet

When using this product:

  • do not take more than 16 tablets in 24 hours
  • do not use the maximum dosage for more than 2 weeks

Keep out of reach of children.

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Gaviscon side effects

Gaviscon is a very safe medicine. Most people who take it don’t have any side effects. If you do get a side effect, it’s likely to be mild and will go away when you stop taking Gaviscon.

Some types of Gaviscon may be more likely to make you feel sick or cause vomiting, constipation or diarrhea because of their ingredients. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any side effects that bother you or don’t go away.

Serious allergic reaction

In very rare cases, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to Gaviscon. This happens in less than 1 in 10,000 patients. If you have an allergic reaction stop taking Gaviscon and contact a doctor straight away.

  • A serious allergic reaction is an emergency. Contact a doctor straight away if you think you or someone around you is having a serious allergic reaction.

The warning signs of a serious allergic reaction are:

  • getting a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • wheezing
  • tightness in the chest or throat
  • having trouble breathing or talking
  • swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat

These are not all the side effects of Gaviscon. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.