October 24, 2017
Woman hand dropping effervescent tablet in a glass of water
Wellness Tip

Effervescent Antacids: Don't Overdo Them

by Berkeley Wellness  

Don’t take effervescent antacids like Alka-Seltzer, Bromo Seltzer, or their generics more than occasionally.

Many people don’t realize that these contain aspirin, which can cause potentially dangerous stomach bleeding. The FDA has questioned the rationale for such drugs and warned again about their risks, noting that they have been linked to a small number of serious bleeds requiring hospitalization and at least one death.

The risk of gastric bleeding is greatest if you are over 60; have had a stomach ulcer or bleeding problems; take other pain relievers (NSAIDs), anticoagulants, or steroids; or have three or more alcoholic drinks a day.

What’s more, these drugs contain sodium bicarbonate, so they are very high in sodium. If you have heartburn, you’re better off with a simple antacid—certainly not aspirin. If you have an occasional headache, try an OTC pain reliever. If these occur frequently, consult your doctor.

By the way, although these fizzy drugs are also marketed for hangovers, there’s no evidence they can speed up recovery; the only cure is the passage of time.

Also see Help for Heartburn and GERD.