Best OTC antacid

Of all the antacid tablets and meds sold over the counter, which one neutralizes the most acid? I never know which one to get. Are they all the same? If not, do they differ by much?

As measured in best bang for the buck units, plain old baking soda beats them all. You have to get used to the awful taste at first, but relief is immediate & costs less than a penny per dose.

Long time GERD sufferer.

Baking soda? I can see where it would work, but I’ll probably stick with Gavescon…or however the hell it’s spelled. I take two or three and I can feel pretty quick relief; but I also find some perverse pleasure in the vanilla-y chalk taste that I’m left with…go figure?

Gaviscon = 67¢ an ounce.
¼ teaspoon baking soda + 4 ounces water [sym]@[/sym] free.

What it’s time to neutralize acid, it basically just comes down to the pH of whatever countermeasure you take. If most bicarbonates (calcium/sodium/magnesium/etc.) are equally effective at neutralizing acid, why not go for the cheapest?

If you need something on the go, you probably won’t have a box of baking soda in your pocket, in which case I just carry TUMS or whatever is cheapest. I’ve never really tried an antacit and felt that it was ineffective, so to me it’s a simple matter of cost per dose.

TUMS are better than rolaids. i dont know the science, but i have tried them both many times.

Pepcid AC is worth its weight in gold. Unfortunately I think it costs about twice that, which is why I’ve only been terribly pleased with the performance of the two free samples I had, and have never broken down and bought any.

Baking soda is excellent, HOWEVER, it is very high in sodium. Making a habit of using it is not a good idea if you’re fighting hypertension.

If you need antacids so much that the $0.78 roll of Rolaids you get at the corner store doesn’t cut it, then I think you should see a doctor, and then try the liquids, like Maalox or Mylanta. The liquids have always done me the most good when I really needed them. For some people it’s okay to carry around a bottle of Maalox and take frequent gulps, but if you’re that bad, you should see a doctor at least once.

By the way, despite what someone said above, the acid neutralizing power of an antacid is not necessarily proportional to the pH of the antacid. Some of the magnesium/aluminum hydroxides you can buy will neutralize acid better than baking soda, despite the pH.

That would be because of their special magical powers, right ? :rolleyes:
When you neutralize acid, you change the pH. In this context, it’s the same thing.
I like baking soda for occasional use. If taking the stuff gets to be a habit, I switch to el-cheapest calcium or magnesium carbonate tablets.

Tagamet works better (or at least faster) than Pepcid AC for me.

Cite, please?

Yeah, I guess I am thinking more in terms of something in my pocket.

And yes, I really have never found any of the major brands to be ineffective. I was just wondering if anyone had an empirical answer as to which actually neutralizes the most acid.

  1. Activated charcoal

  2. Altoids

Acid neutralizing power is only proportional to pH when the base is soluble. You can’t compare the effectiveness of NaHCO[sub]3[/sub] with CaCO[sub]3[/sub] just based on pH because CaCO[sub]3[/sub] is insoluble.

Even so, when I said that magnesium hydroxide “will neutralize acid better than baking soda,” I was wrong (although it does do that better on a volume basis). What I should have said was that it relieves heartburn symptoms better than baking soda. Relief of heartburn symptoms is not the same a neutralizing acid. This is based on my own experience and a study done by Consumer Reports, among other things. Obviously, some people are going to get different results and prefer baking soda.

I have a much better cite now. According to Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, sodium bicarbonate is a worse antacid than magnesium/aluminum hydroxide because of having a high pH and being soluble. The alkalinity of bicarbonate actually irritates the stomach and causes it to secrete more acid, and the bicarbonate gets cleared out of the stomach quickly, so it isn’t there to neutralize the newly secreted acid. The hydroxides, though, don’t stimulate as much new acid production, and they remain in place much longer so that they can react with any new acid that’s secreted.

In answer to the OP, the book says that of all the popular antacid tablets you can get, Riopan Plus 2 neutralizes the most acid, 30 mEq per tablet. In second place is Maalox TC, which reacts with 28 mEq per tablet. I think the Maalox might work better because it has aluminum hydroxide, which should cause it to stay in the stomach longer.

There are considerations apart from cost per dose. I think we can agree most antacids are cheap.

Baking soda is certainly cheap, and adequate. It tastes crummy and has a high sodium hit. If you need an antacid only once in a blue moon, nothing wrong with it at all. I would agree it probably is less effective at reducing heartburn than other antacids when used frequently.

Sometimes other effects are desirable in an antacid. They are good cheap sources of calcium, and most folks do not get enough calcium in their diet (unlike, say, protein or carbohydrates). Mg(OH)2 (magnesium = mg = “must go”) tends to loosen the ol’ bowels. Aluminium hydroxide tends to constipate with regular use. So some antacids combine the two, but often the effect of one or the other is desirable.

Tagamet is a proton pump inhibitor and really a different class of medication.

Sorry to get nit-picky, Pap old buddy, but tagamet is an H[sub]2[/sub] blocker, not a PPI. Prilosec, protonix, nexium and others are all PPI’s, and bind to the proton pump of parietal cell. Tagamet, Zantac, and others block histamine at the parietal cell. A subtle, but important difference.

Tagamet, Pepcid and Zantac stop the production of acid.
Rolaids and Tums remove the acid thats currently in the stomach.

So Pepcid won’t make your heartburn dissolve instantly but will keep it at its current level. That’s why is good to take it before the heartburn.

Drat. I keep forgetting, THINK, then type.
Of course you’re right.