Using antacids provides quick relief for heartburn, but these medications cannot treat damage to the esophagus caused by stomach acid, according to Mayo Clinic. H-2-receptor antagonists may provide longer relief, but they are not quick to relieve heartburn like antacids.
Antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid to provide relief, explains WebMD. Examples of antacids include Pepto-Bismol, Alka-Seltzer, Milk of Magnesia, Surpass Gum and Gaviscon. Some antacids contain an ingredient called simethicone that helps in reducing excess gas. It is necessary to take antacids as advised by a health care provider. Those who prefer tablets should chew them well before swallowing. Overdosing on antacids has side effects such as stomach cramps, constipation and diarrhea.