What are antacids


also referred to as:
Acidosis therapeutics; acid binding agents

The following active ingredients are assigned to the active ingredient group "Antacids"

Areas of application for this group of active ingredients

Acid-binding agents (antacids) are used in cases of hyperacidity of the stomach and the associated sequelae such as heartburn, acid regurgitation and acid-related (peptic) stomach and duodenal ulcers. This is a symptomatic therapy, since not the causes of the increased acid production, but only its effects are treated.

The acid-binding agents start to work after just a few minutes, but only last for two to three hours.

The dosage depends on the active ingredients used. It can show significant differences, depending on how much acid the respective substance is able to bind. Preparations containing magaldrate and hydrotalcite have the highest effectiveness with regard to this so-called acid binding capacity.

Since food also has an acid-binding effect, acid-binding agents should be taken after a meal. It is recommended to use it two hours after a meal or immediately before going to bed, as otherwise the stomach acid has a particularly aggressive effect on the stomach, which is empty at night.

Another area of ​​application for acid-binding agents is over-acidification of the body as a result of kidney dysfunction or nutritional disorders. The aim here is not to neutralize gastric acid, but to balance the excess acid in the tissue and blood. Since the acid-binding agents would be inactivated in the stomach, they have to be processed in gastric juice-resistant pharmaceutical forms (capsules or tablets) for this purpose.

This is how antacids work

The stomach acid consists of very dilute hydrochloric acid. It is used for digestion and protects the body from invading germs. Acid that is only produced in excess in a pathological way can attack the mucous membranes of the esophagus, stomach or intestines and thus lead to diseases. Acid binding agents (antacids) neutralize or bind excess stomach acid. Their mechanism of action is relatively simple:

For the acidic character of gastric acid (low gastric pH value) positively charged protons (hydrogen ions, H.+Ions) responsible. Acid-binding agents, on the other hand, contain negatively charged components, for example carbonate such as calcium carbonate, bicarbonate (also: hydrogen carbonate) or hydroxide. These negatively charged components neutralize the positively charged protons. It is said that the basic (alkaline) reaction balances the acid. In addition, some acid-binding agents render the positively charged protons harmless by attaching them to their surface (adsorption).

When choosing an active ingredient, the following points should be considered:
  • Sodium-containing compounds (sodium citrate, sodium hydrogen carbonate and others) are less recommended for acid-binding therapy. Because the sodium is almost completely absorbed by the body and can lead to an increase in blood pressure, especially if you are prone to high blood pressure. If baking soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) is used as an acid-binding agent, there is also an increased formation of carbon dioxide, which can cause flatulence.
  • More recommended acid-binding agents (antacids) are aluminum and magnesium compounds with basic groups (magnesium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, aluminum hydroxide, aluminum hydroxychloride, aluminum-magnesium silicate, magnesium trisilicate and others). They are also used in combination. What is beneficial about these compounds is that they do not have any bloating effects. In addition, aluminum has a protective effect on the mucous membranes.
  • So-called layered grid antacids, which have a characteristic crystal structure, have also proven themselves. They can both neutralize and accumulate acid. They include magaldrat, algeldrat, almasilate, carbaldrat, and the naturally occurring hydrotalcite.
If acid-binding agents are used for a long time, possible changes in the mineral balance must be taken into account. They are due to the ingestion of aluminum or magnesium or to interactions with the body's own phosphate. The magnesium ingested can lead to diarrhea, for example.

It must also be noted that acid-binding agents can greatly reduce the absorption (absorption) of other drugs in the body. There must be an interval of at least a few hours between the use of the various drugs.