What are Antacids?

What are antacids and how do antacids work? Here is all you will need to know regarding antacids and how they affect your baby's infant acid reflux if you decide this is the best option for treating infant acid reflux.

Antacids neutralize gastric acid and ecause antacids reduce excess acidity, they alleviate symptoms of heartburn and help allow the natural healing process to take place in any damaged areas. Many serve as a protective coating against further damage. However, antacids are a short term solution because they do not maintain a reduced level of acidity in the stomach. Therefore, if your baby is having a mild or sporadic reflux events antacids could be a good resource for you.

What are Antacids Made Of?

Antacids and how they can treat infant acid reflux.

The following ingredients are the combination of a typical antacid:

  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Calcium Bicarbonate
  • Magnesium Hydroxide
  • Aluminum Hydroxide

They are chemical compounds that are able to raise the stomach's pH above 3.5 in ten minutes.

How Do Antacids Work?

We could go into the blah, blah blah of gastric acid is hydrochloric acid or HCI and it consists of hydrogen and chloride ions. It is the hydrogen ions that give acid it's caustic and damaging properties. Antacids can attract and hold onto the hydrogen ions. Grabbing up the hydrogen makes the pH of the stomach less acidic. 


According to new guidelines, chronic antacid therapy is generally not recommended in pediatrics for the treatment of GERD. [CLINICAL REPORT  Gastroesophageal Reflux: Management Guidance for the Pediatrician from  The American Academy of Pediatrics].

But why do you need to know that?

What you need to know is that if your baby is suffering from acid reflux for more than a week and is starting to show signs of pain and discomfort you need to do something to to help for longer term symptoms and antacids are not the answer.

You need help for your baby now

What are antacids administering recommendations?

If your baby is only having sporadic reflux symptoms you should check with your doctor but our will typically recomend the following in accordance to the American Pediatric Associations guidelines.

You could also consider connecting with one of our doctors that specialize in baby reflux in an telemedicine appointment to get your baby the qualified help it needs now.

Maximum three doses a day and it is best if you use them between doses of other treatments such as one hour after a meal and also one hour before or after any PPI dose. This is to provide quick relief of symptoms such as heartburn.

CVS cherry supreme and how it can treat infant acid reflux

Mylanta Cherry Supreme or generic versions (now known as CVS Cherry Supreme)

Although it is NOT indicated for infants under the age of 12 months. Many reflux groups have posted that they have used it as an inbetween treatment when using a PPI or all by itself for occasional symptoms. This method should be discussed with your medical care practitioner.

See below what some families do to use MCS.

  • Used if your baby is having constipation or hard stool.
  • Used in infants with acid reflux under 12 months old dissolve ½ a teaspoon into water or milk.
  • 2.5mL up to three doses per day
  • Used in children with acid reflux between the ages of 1 to 3 years old dissolve ⅓ of a teaspoon in a bottle of water or milk.
  • For children with acid reflux that are 4 years or older, give 1 teaspoon of the medicine in a cup or a spoon.

Maalox: contains aluminum. You should not give your baby aluminum. Maalox also states that you should consult a physician if you intend to you Maalox with children under the age of 12 years old.

Active ingredients (in each 5 ml = 1 teaspoonful) 

Aluminum hydroxide (equiv. to dried gel USP) 400 mg ..........Antacid
Magnesium hydroxide 400 mg................................................Antacid
Simethicone 40 mg.................................................................Antigas

Tums quick dissolve tablets (also not indicated for infants) some have used this with the guidance of a qualified medical practitioner.

  • For infants with acid reflux under 12 months dissolve ¼ tablet into water or milk.
  • For children with acid reflux between the ages of 1 to 3 years old dissolve ½ a tablet into water or milk.
  • For children with acid reflux that are 4 years or older they can suck on a ½ or ¾ of a tablet.

What are antacids (WHAT NOT TO DO):

Antacids should not be taken with.

  • Delayed release proton pump inhibitors:
    Antacids dissolve the protective enteric coating that surrounds delayed release PPI drugs and exposing the drug to the stomach acid, which will destroy the PPI drug. It's best to space the dose of an antacid from a delayed release PPI by at least if 1 hour. (if in powder form, you'll know it's delayed release because it will contain pellets  in with the powder)

  • Sucralfate:
    Sucralfate requires acid in order to be converted to it's active form. By neutralizing the acid in the stomach using antacids it inhibits this conversion.

Conclusion of What are Antacids:

  • Some antacids have rapid onset, while others have more sustained action. Your doctor may combine antacids to take full advantage of the properties of the different types of antacid, as well as minimize adverse effects or antagonize side effects (like diarrhea and constipation).
  • May delay absorption rate of other drugs.
  • May damage protective enteric coating on some drugs.
  • Antacids with magnesium may have a laxative effect.
  • Antacids with aluminum may cause constipation and has been linked to organic brain disease in children, and and Alzheimer's in adults.
  • Patients with lactose intolerance should be aware of antacids containing milk products.

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