Can You Overdose on Antacids?

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

woman with abdominal pain

Ask the experts

Can it be harmful to take too many tums or antacids?

Doctor's response

There are side effects from taking too many antacids. The least important side effects are constipation (aluminum-containing antacids) or diarrhea (magnesium-containing antacids. Large amounts of calcium carbonate-containing antacids (for example, Tums) can affect the balances of calcium and acid in the body and damage the kidneys. Calcium-containing antacids also can stimulate acid secretion even though initially they neutralize acid. (Stimulation of acid would not be good for the conditions usually treated with antacids.) In patients with kidney problems, aluminum from aluminum-containing antacids can accumulate in the body. The accumulated aluminum may be toxic. Having said all this, occasional use, even daily use, of antacids generally is safe.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

"Antiulcer medications: Mechanism of action, pharmacology, and side effects"
UpToDate.com


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Reviewed on 6/13/2017

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