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Gaviscon

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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Gaviscon is a common, over-the-counter medicine used to treat heartburn and indigestion. Available forms include tablets, chewable tablets, oral liquids, and oral liquid sachets. These products are suitable for anybody aged 12 years and above. Children under 12 should only use Gaviscon products if they are under supervision by a doctor. Gaviscon products are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Doctor’s advice

How much should I take?

How much you should take depends on the type of Gaviscon product. Follow the directions on the package.

If symptoms persist for more than 7 days, speak to your doctor before taking more Gaviscon.

How does it work?

Heartburn is the result of stomach acid traveling up the esophagus (food pipe); this is called acid reflux. The acid causes irritation of the lining of the esophagus, resulting in a burning feeling in the chest. Indigestion occurs when stomach acid irritates the lining of the stomach.

Gaviscon products contain two types of active ingredients – raft-forming agents and antacids. Raft-forming agents such as sodium alginate help relieve heartburn by forming a layer of foam at the top of the stomach, preventing acid reflux up the esophagus. Antacids such as aluminum hydroxide and magnesium carbonate neutralize excess acid in the stomach.

Who should not take the medication?

Like all medications, don’t take Gaviscon if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new. Talk to your doctor if you have been recommended to follow a low-sodium diet, as the medication may not be suitable for you.

You should speak to your doctor if you have ongoing symptoms of heartburn or indigestion for more than 2 weeks, have lost weight unexpectedly, or have any serious symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, have blood in your stools, have severe pain, vomiting, or blood in your vomit.

Gaviscon can interact with other medicines, such as atazanavir, strontium, doxycycline, alendronic acid, and rilpivirine. If you take any prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check if they are safe to take with Gaviscon.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects are generally uncommon for Gaviscon products but can include feeling sick, being sick, diarrhea, and constipation.

As with any medication, seek urgent medical advice if you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as a skin rash, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in your chest or throat, or swelling of your tongue, mouth, lips, face or throat.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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