What are Antacids?

What are antacids and how do antacids work? Here is an 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 work by neutralizing stomach acid and come in multiple forms including tablets, liquids, capsules and lozenges. They are available without a prescription (OTC or over the counter form).

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?:

Antacids neutralize gastric acid. 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 are able to attract and hold onto the hydrogen ions. Grabbing up the hydrogen makes the pH of the stomach less acidic.

Because antacids reduce excess acid, 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.

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].

What are antacids administering recommendations?:

Your doctor should give you specific instructions for giving them to your child with acid reflux. The most that should be given to your child is three doses a day and it is best if you use them between doses of other treatments and one and three hours after a meal. This is to provide quick relief of symptoms such as heartburn.

Maalox: Maalox is a good example of what NOT to use for your infants acid reflux. The primary reason is it contains aluminum. You should not give your baby aluminum.

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

Maalox also states that you should consult a physician if you intend to you Maalox with children under the age of 12 years old.

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.
CVS cherry supreme and how it can treat infant acid reflux

Mylanta Cherry supreme or generic versions:

Although it is NOT indicated for infants under the age of 12 months. Many reflux groups have posted that they have used it as a 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.

What are antacids contraindications:

Contraindications are what NOT TO DO with antacids or what 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 page:

  • 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 in adults dementia and Alzheimer's.
  • Patients on a low-sodium diet must be cautious using antacids containing sodium bicarbonate.
  • Patients with lactose intolerance should be aware of antacids containing milk products.

Much of the contents of this page came from the Marci kids website when it was live. All information contained on this page was created and approved by Dr. Jeffrey Phillips, the creator of MarciKids dosing.

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