- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Brand Name: Alka-Seltzer
Generic Name: sodium bicarbonate
Drug Class: Alkalinizing agents
What is Alka-Seltzer, and what is it used for?
Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief (sodium bicarbonate) is an oral medication and alkalinizing agent (antacid) that reduces stomach acid. It is a commonly used antacid to treat occasional episodes of heartburn, acid ingestion, and upset stomach.
How does Alka-Seltzer work?
- Oral sodium bicarbonate provides rapid relief (within 15 minutes) of heartburn symptoms and should only be used to provide temporary relief of occasional episodes of stomach acid problems.
- Oral administration of sodium bicarbonate results in the neutralization of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (raises blood and urinary pH) and the formation of sodium chloride, carbon dioxide, and water.
Do I need a prescription for Alka-Seltzer (sodium bicarbonate)?
What are the side effects of Alka-Seltzer?
Known side effects include:
- flatulence (gas),
- stomach pain, and
- edema (water retention).
Which drugs interact with Alka-Seltzer?
- Sodium bicarbonate may increase the blood concentration of flecainide (Tambocor) by increasing the pH of urine, leading to less excretion of flecainide.
- Sodium bicarbonate may decrease blood concentration of amphetamines, atazanavir (Reyataz), bisacodyl (Dulcolax), captopril (Capoten), dabigatran (Pradaxa), itraconazole (Sporanox) and many other drugs.
- Acetazolamide (Diamox) may increase the risk of toxicity or adverse effects associated with sodium bicarbonate treatment.
Is Alka-Seltzer safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- Sodium bicarbonate has not been adequately evaluated in pregnant women. Sodium bicarbonate has the potential risk of causing metabolic alkalosis and fluid overload in pregnancy. Therefore, sodium bicarbonate containing antacids are considered unsafe in pregnancy.
- Sodium bicarbonate enters breast milk. Other antacids such as calcium carbonate or magnesium hydroxide are generally preferred over sodium carbonate due to their wider safety margin.
What else should I know about Alka-Seltzer?
What preparations of Alka-Seltzer are available?
- Effervescent granules for oral solution: 460 mg. Oral tablet: 325 and 650 mg
How should I keep Alka-Seltzer stored?
- Store at room temperature 59 C - 86 C (15 F – 30 F).
Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief (sodium bicarbonate) is an alkalinizing agent (antacid medication) used to reduce stomach acid and treat occasional episodes of heartburn, acid ingestion, and upset stomach. Side effects of Alka-Seltzer include belching, flatulence (gas), stomach pain, and edema (water retention). Alka-Seltzer is not recommended to treat heartburn during pregnancy or while breastfeeding an infant.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach Pain)
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What Should I Eat When I Have Heartburn?
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Heart Attack vs. Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom of another disease or medical problem and can be described as a feeling of burning in the chest accompanied by symptoms of nausea, vomiting, or a sour taste or food stuck in the back of the throat. Heart attack occurs when an artery in the heart is completely blocked by a blood clot, which causes that portion of heart muscle to die. Heart attack also has symptoms of chest pain, nausea, and vomiting, however, other warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack are unusual weakness or fatigue, and persistent and/or increased severity of symptoms over a few minutes. Heart attack is a life threatening emergency. If you think you or someone you are with is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately for urgent medical treatment. It may save your life.
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Heartburn vs. Acid Reflux (Differences and Similarities)
Heartburn and acid reflux are not the same thing. Heartburn is actually a symptom of acid reflux. Heartburn gets its name because it feels like a burning sensation around the heart. Another symptom that occurs with heartburn is a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, usually when you eat or lye down. Heartburn affects more than 60 million people in the US at least once a month. Acid reflux, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, which irritates it. Heartburn is just one symptom of acid reflux. Other symptoms of acid reflux include: Belching Nausea after eating A feeling of fullness during or after eating Abdominal bloating Upset stomach Belching Wheezing Reflux laryngitis A tightness in the throat Problems swallowing Indigestion In some people, vomiting Causes of acid reflux and heartburn include: Being obese Slouching (poor posture) Medications like calcium channel blockers, theophylline, nitrates, and antihistamines Foods and drinks like caffeine, citrus fruits and vegetables, alcohol, and chocolate Pregnancy Diabetes Increase in stomach acid Eating a heavy meal Eating before bed The treatment for heartburn and acid reflux is to treat the underlying cause, for example, GERD, with over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, prescription medicine, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes like a eating a healthy, less fatty, spicy diet, not eating big meals, not eating before bed, and getting regular exercise to improve your posture.Sometimes a heart attack can mimic heartburn and acid reflux because they feel very similar. If you have symptoms of chest pain, tightness in the chest, heartburn, acid reflux, jaw, tooth, or head pain; shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, discomfort in the upper middle of the abdomen, arm or upper back pain, or the general feeling of being ill, go to the nearest Emergency Department immediately because these are the symptoms of a heart attack.REFERENCES:American College of Gastroenterology. "Acid Reflux." 2017.<http://patients.gi.org/topics/acid-reflux/> familydoctor.org. "Heartburn." Updated: Mar 2014.<https://familydoctor.org/condition/heartburn/> National Library of Medicine; PubMed Health. "Heartburn and GERD: Treatment options for GERD." Updated: Nov 18, 2015.<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072436/>
GERD (Acid Reflux) in Infants and Children
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How Do You Stop Heartburn Instantly?
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