What is Gaviscon? Uses, benefits, dosage and side effects

23 February 2020 |   Category: Medicines, Stomach Diseases
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Gaviscon is a reflux suppressant and its active ingredient is sodium alginate + bicarbonate. It relieves symptoms such as heartburn or burning due to reflux. It reduces stomach complaints that occur after meals and during pregnancy. It prevents acid indigestion and gastric fluid coming up into the mouth. It is also used to treat inflammation of esophagus. It is usually prescribed to be used for a short period of time, depending on the frequency and intensity of complaints. In occasional conditions, it can only be used as symptoms appear. For symptoms with increasing intensity and frequency, a seven-day treatment can be administered. If complaints are not relieved during this period, the doctor should be informed. It is a safe medicine and its side effects are limited. But it should not be used without medical advice.

What is Gaviscon?

Gaviscon is a prescription medicine used to treat gastroesophageal reflux. Sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium carbonate, which are the main active ingredients, have the effect of reducing and controlling the acid rate in the stomach. There are syrup and chewable tablet forms with flavour of mint. The syrup form is usually administered to children and pregnant-breastfeeding women. However, adults can also use this form if they prefer. The medicine should be taken for a short time under the supervision of a doctor. (1)

What is Gaviscon used for?

Gaviscon is mainly used for relieving the complaints especially due to the following conditions: (2)

  • Acid reflux (stomach content including gastric fluid coming up into the mouth from esophagus)
  • Oesophagitis (inflammation of esophagus)
  • Pregnancy reflux (gastroesophageal reflux that can occur due to pregnancy hormones)

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The symptoms of the conditions that appear especially after meals are as follows:

  • Hearthburn-stomach burning
  • Acid indigestion
  • Acid coming from the stomach up into the mouth

How does Gaviscon work?

Gaviscon is a combined medicine with three active ingredients. Sodium alginate, sodium bicarbonate (natural salts), and calcium carbonate act together to treat stomach complaints induced by reflux. Its mechanism of action works as follows, they; (1)

  • form a protective barrier on the stomach contents,
  • control the release of stomach acid and other stomach fluids,
  • protect the irritated surface of the stomach with the barrier they form,
  • prevent the acid escaping back up to esophagus.

Thus, symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn, are relieved. It not only relieves the symptoms of inflammation of esophagus, but also helps heal the inflamed esophagus by protecting from the acid.

When does Gaviscon start to work?

As soon as the medicine is taken, it starts to show its effect. The effect of a dose can last about 4 hours.

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How to use Gaviscon?

  • Take it after meals.
  • Shake the bottle well before taking the syrup form.
  • Tablet form should be chewed. It may be easier to divide a tablet into small pieces and chew. If you need, drink water after taking it.
  • In case of occasional stomach conditions, take it only when needed.
  • If stomach problems increase, continue taking the medicine regularly, even if there are no complaints.
  • Take the medicine in a dose recommended by the doctor and in accordance with the instructions.
  • Do not take a double dose to balance missed dose. Just skip that dose and follow your routine dose cycle.
  • If symptoms do not relieve within 7 days and get worse, immediately inform your doctor.
  • Do not stop treatment with this medicine without consulting your doctor. Symptoms may reappear.
  • Do not extend the use of the medicine, except the control of your doctor.
  • The medicine is prescribed just for you. Don’t share it with others.

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Gaviscon dosage

Dose amount to be taken is prescribed by the doctor according to the general health of the patient and the intensity of the symptoms. It’s best to take it after meals and at bedtime. It can be taken up to 4 times a day. The daily dose adjustment is usually as follows:

Gaviscon syrup (liquid) form

  • Children between 6-12 years old: 1-2 dessertspoonful (5-10 ml) x 4
  • Children over 12 years old and adults: 2-4 dessertspoonful (10-20 ml) x4

Gaviscon chewable tablet form

  • Children over 12 years old and adults: 1-2 tablets x 4

Dose adjustment is not required for both forms for the elderly. In patients with renal failure, a special dose adjustment is required due to sodium and calcium content in the medicine.

Gaviscon overdose

This medicine does not have any serious side effects due to overdose. If taken too much by accident, it may cause a temporary bloating in the stomach-abdominal area. This does not cause any health hazards. If you are worried, you can consult your doctor.

How long can I use Gaviscon?

Gaviscon is one of the medicines used for a short-term treatment. Depending on the condition for taking the medicine, it can only be taken with the onset of complaints. In frequent symptoms, it can be used regularly for 7 consecutive days. If symptoms do not relieve or they get worse, the patient needs to be re-examined by the doctor. Continuous use of the medicine can suppress an underlying condition. Therefore, doctor can continue treatment with this medicine intermittently as needed.

Warnings for Gaviscon

  • As the medicine contains sodium, patients on a controlled sodium diet should inform their doctor for dose adjustment.
  • Patients with recurrent kidney stones should take the medicine under the supervision of a doctor due to the calcium carbonate content.
  • Misuse may mask more serious underlying medical conditions. Therefore, it should not be taken for a long time.

Gaviscon drug interactions

Gaviscon should not be taken with other medicines at the same time. The medicines can interfere with each other and it may change the level of effect. Other medicines should be taken 2 hours after Gaviscon intake. (3)

Particular attention should be paid to the following medications:

  • Histamine (h2) antagonists: Medicines used to treat peptic ulcer and heartburn
  • Antibiotics: Quinolone group antibiotics with tetracycline or norfloxacin active ingredient, especially used in many bacterial infections
  • Antifungals: Ketoconazole-containing medicines used to treat many fungal skin infections
  • Neuroleptics: Medicines, also known as antipsychotics, used to treat psychosis like schizophrenia
  • Some cardiovascular drugs: Beta blockers such as atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, and digoxin
  • Bisphosphonates: Medicines used for osteoporosis mostly seen in women
  • Chloroquine: Medicines to prevent and treat malaria
  • Thyroxine: A medicine used in thyroid disease
  • Glucocorticoid: A kind of hormone medicine
  • Iron tablets

In order to regulate the time of medicine intake, inform your doctor about all prescription or over-the-counter medications you use.

Inform your doctor before using ibuprofen or aspirin with this medicine at the same time. Taking these painkillers with Gaviscon may further worsen the stomach symptoms. It’s safe to take it with paracetamol.

Gaviscon and drinking alcohol

Gaviscon does not interact with alcohol and cause side effects. But it can adversely affect the healing activity of the medicine. Alcohol makes the stomach produce more acid than normal. This can irritate the stomach lining and make symptoms worse. Therefore, it is not recommended to use alcohol during Gaviscon treatment.

Gaviscon food interactions

The medicine should not be taken at the same time with acid-containing foods, especially like orange juice. An interval of two hours is needed to consume this kind of food and drink. Especially patients with intensive symptoms should stick to the diet recommended by the doctor and avoid high-acid foods. Thus, the medicine will be more effective in the treatment process.

Different forms of Gaviscon

Gaviscon Original:

  • Peppermint Flavour Liquid – 600 m
  • Aniseed Relief – 300 ml
  • Chewable Tablets Peppermint – 24 tabs

Gaviscon Double Action:

  • Mint Tablets – 48 tabs
  • Liquid Aniseed – 300 ml
  • Liquid Sachets – 12 x 10 ml
  • Liquid Peppermint – 300 ml

Gaviscon Advance:

  • Liquid Peppermint – 300 ml
  • Aniseed Flavour Oral Suspension – 300 ml
  • Mint Chewable Tablets – 24 tabs

Gaviscon Infant – 30 sachets

Gaviscon equivalent (generic) medicines

  • Rennie: Chewable tablet – Suspension
  • Acid Gone: Chewable tablet – Suspension

Gaviscon contraindications

Who should not take Gaviscon?

Gaviscon is a very safe medicine in general. However;

  • Children <6 years old
  • Patients who are on a solid salt or sodium restricted diet, i.e. cardiac or renal patients, due to the sodium content
  • Patients with high blood calcium levels and kidney stone history, due to the calcium content
  • Those who are allergic or likely to be allergic to active and inactive ingredients in its content, should avoid from taking this medicine.

The two forms of the medicine contain different inactive ingredients. For example, aspartame is one of the inactive ingredients of the tablet form. It should not be used by those with phenylketonuria (a rare hereditary children disease). Check the inactive ingredients of the form you are taking from the patient leaflet.

Those who have the following health conditions should take this medicine with caution:

  • History of renal or heart disease (such conditions may be triggered by the salt content)
  • Severe renal failure
  • Very low-level of acid in the stomach (this may reduce the effect of the medicine)

Children under 12 years old can take the medicine only if the doctor considers it necessary.

Taking Gaviscon during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Gaviscon can be used safely during pregnancy and breastfeeding with the prescription of the doctor and in accordance with the instructions. Becoming pregnant while taking the medicine does not cause any health problem. Nevertheless, you should inform your doctor about all medicines taken during pregnancy. (4,5)

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What are the side effects of Gaviscon?

  • Gaviscon is a very safe medicine and doesn’t have side effects in general.
  • Possible side effects are very mild and will disappear when stop taking it.
  • Each form contains different inactive ingredients, and these may cause vomiting, constipation, or diarrhoea in some individuals.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you notice any sudden side effect.

The ingredients in Gaviscon may cause allergic reaction even if they are rare. If any of the following symptoms occur, stop taking the medicine and in immediately apply to an emergency service.

  • Itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin rash
  • Wheezing in the chest
  • Tightness in the chest and throat
  • Face, lips, mouth, throat, hands and/or feet start swelling
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing

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