In pharmacology, the term antacids (singular: antacidum) describes a group of drugs that serve to neutralize the acidic environment of the stomach. In general, the common active ingredients are weak bases or salts of weak acids. What all antacids have in common is that they are able to act as a buffer on the stomach acid and in this way help to alleviate: Antacids are usually magnesium, aluminium or calcium containing compounds.
Furthermore, combination preparations of aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide are widely used. The advantage of such a combination is that it combines the rapid onset of action of magnesium hydroxide with the long duration of action of aluminium hydroxide. – Heartburn,
The overall effect of the antacid can be increased many times over in this way. In addition, the simultaneous intake of both components can prevent the occurrence of side effects of one active ingredient by the other. For example, it has been shown that patients who were treated with combination antacids over a longer period of time suffered on average less frequently from constipation than those who only took aluminium hydroxide.
Antacids are generally purely symptomatic and have no curative effects. In existing gastrointestinal diseases, treatment should therefore not be based solely on the use of antacids. In contrast, the development of various diseases (e.g. stomach ulcers) can be prevented by the use of antacids.
Among the most common adverse effects (side effects) described in connection with the use of antacids are changes in stool consistency. This is noticeable in the occurrence of diarrhoea or constipation. In addition, antacids can influence the performance of the kidneys and thus lead to shifts in electrolyte ratios.
In some patients, the use of antacids led to an increase in the concentration of magnesium and potassium in the blood. It should also be noted when using antacids that all drugs in this group of active ingredients can influence the absorption and effect of other drugs. If anything is unclear or abnormalities occur, a doctor must therefore be consulted immediately.
Antacids and pregnancy
Antacids are particularly suitable for relieving heartburn. Especially during pregnancy many women suffer from the increased and sometimes severe occurrence of heartburn. Especially the changed pressure conditions in the abdominal cavity during pregnancy and the decreasing function of the lower sphincter muscle of the esophagus favour the occurrence of heartburn.
In many cases, slight changes in lifestyle can already have a major effect on this problem. An adjustment of these already leads to a significant decrease in the frequency of heartburn in many women during pregnancy. In those pregnant women for whom these measures provide little or no relief, the use of antacids can be useful.
During pregnancy, the aluminium and magnesium hydroxide combination preparations already described are particularly suitable. According to extensive studies, the use of antacids during pregnancy has not been proven to have any harmful effects on the unborn child. This fact is mainly due to the fact that the standard preparations contain only a small dose of the active substance.
Nevertheless, treatment with antacids during pregnancy should only be carried out after consultation with the family doctor. In case of abnormalities or uncertainties, a suitable alternative can be considered as soon as possible. During pregnancy it is recommended to take a maximum of 3 to 4 sachets or tablets per day.
In addition, the duration of treatment should not exceed a period of four weeks. If there is no significant improvement in heartburn after this period of time when taking antacids during pregnancy, it seems advisable to consult a suitable doctor anyway and initiate a comprehensive diagnostic procedure. – Diet and
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