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December 09, 2021  
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TUMS (calcium carbonate)

What is Tums?
Tums, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is an antacid made of calcium carbonate. It is available over-the-counter at many stores, including drug stores and grocery stores. It is taken as heartburn symptoms develop to alleviate acute heartburn attacks. Further information about Tums can be found at their website,

How does Tums work?
Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach on contact. The acid that normally causes heartburn is then no longer a source of irritation.

Tums should be chewed, not swallowed whole, and should be followed with a full glass of water, for the greatest effectiveness (efficacy).

Who should use Tums?
Tums is intended for acute attacks of heartburn. It is not designed specifically for reducing the frequency of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or the additional damage that frequent heartburn can cause to the esophagus. It provides only temporary relief, so heartburn may return later.

Tums is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding if taken as directed. Because it can also be used as a calcium supplement, it is recommended for post-menopausal women to help minimize bone loss from osteoporosis.

Side effects of Tums, especially for those using the medicine as a calcium supplement, may include temporary bloating and constipation. Suddenly taking in higher levels of calcium can cause these symptoms. If you plan to take it as a daily calcium supplement, start with a smaller dose for the first few days to avoid these problems.

Warnings and Precautions when using Tums
Tums is not recommended for everyone. If you have kidney disease or certain allergies, talk to your doctor before taking Tums. If, after taking Tums, you develop difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or bleeding (in regurgitation or stool), you may have a more serious condition than heartburn. In this case, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. In addition, if your heartburn symptoms continue for more than two weeks despite treatment, talk to your doctor about other options. Tums may interact with other medications. Consultation with your physician is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tums

Is it safe to use Tums in addition to other heartburn medicines?
If you are using another medicine for GERD, check with your doctor or the prescription label before taking Tums. However, it is safe to use Tums for acute heartburn attacks in conjunction with most proton pump inhibitors. In addition, you should talk to your doctor about other medicines you are taking, including antibiotics, before taking Tums.

Why all the information about calcium?
The active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate, an easily digested, non-dairy form of calcium. Because of this, many people use Tums as a calcium supplement to prevent osteoporosis, a condition common among post-menopausal women

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