Antacids that contain calcium carbonate instead of aluminum hydroxide, such as Rolaids and Tums, are a good choice for people avoiding aluminum, according to WebMD. Sodium bicarbonate antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer, are also an option, but these medications contain aspirin and may aggravate certain medical conditions.
People who have kidney problems and women who are past menopause should avoid aluminum-based antacids, explains WebMD. Aluminum-based antacids can also cause constipation, but it is less likely for aluminum-magnesium antacids to cause digestive problems.
Patients with high blood pressure or who follow a salt-restricted diet should avoid sodium bicarbonate antacids, notes WebMD. Women may prefer to take calcium carbonate antacids because their extra calcium content may help prevent osteoporosis.
People with occasional heartburn can use antacids to control uncomfortable symptoms, according to WebMD. However, heartburn sufferers who use antacids for longer than two weeks should talk to their doctors about their medication use. Also, antacids may not adequately treat severe heartburn symptoms.
Antacids can cause rare but severe side effects, notes WebMD. Heartburn sufferers should call 911 if they experience trouble breathing or swelling of the tongue, face or throat after taking antacids. Other side effects, such as hives, problems urinating, swelling ankles or wrists, bone pain, and severe muscle weakness, can also occur, and patients should discuss these problems with their doctors promptly.