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Gaviscon vs Tums – Which Will Work Better for Your Heartburn?

Are you suffering from burning pain in your chest due to acid reflux? Then you’re not alone. Acid reflux or heartburn is among the most common diseases today. It is so common that almost every one of us has suffered from it at some point.

For this widespread problem, researchers have developed different types of medicine. And among them, two of the most popular are Tums and Gaviscon.

So it’s natural to wonder, Gaviscon vs Tums, how do they differ? Do they work in the same way? And is one better than the other?

If you have these questions, then you’re in the right place. Gaviscon vs Tums is what we’ll be talking about here.

Table of Content

Gaviscon vs Tums: A Quick Comparision

That being said, let’s look at the key differences between these drugs in short.

TypeLiquid antacid/foaming agentChewable antacid
Active IngredientsAluminum hydroxide, magnesium carbonateCalcium carbonate
Mode of ActionForms a protective barrier on top of stomach contentsNeutralizes stomach acid
Onset of ReliefRelatively fastFast
Duration of ReliefShort-termShort to medium-term
Suitable for GERDYes, for mild casesYes, for mild cases
Taste/TextureChalky, liquidChewable tablets with various flavors
Common Side EffectsMinimalMinimal (may cause constipation)
Use during PregnancyGenerally considered safeGenerally considered safe
Use in ChildrenYes, with proper dosageYes, with proper dosage

Gaviscon vs Tums: An In-depth Overview

Both Gaviscon and Tums are over-the-counter medications. It means that you don’t need a prescription to get these drugs. You can buy them directly from a store. This is partly the reason why these drugs are so popular.

These drugs act quickly. They can neutralize the acid in your stomach. So, they fall under the ‘antacid’ category of medications. Although they both do the same thing, they are quite different from one another.


TUMS Naturals

Tum is a popular antacid. This drug contains calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a basic compound. It means that it can react with acid and neutralize it.

The heartburn that you experience is due to damage to the cells of your esophagus. Your stomach contains a lot of acid. This acid helps in food digestion.

This acid isn’t supposed to come up to the esophagus above. In GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), this acid comes up. This harms the esophageal cells.

So neutralizing the stomach acid will help with the pain. And the calcium carbonate in Tums neutralizes this acid. This is how it relieves your acid reflux.



Gaviscon is a common drug that treats acid reflux. This drug is a mixture of a few different components. These are:

  • Sodium Alginate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Calcium bicarbonate

So, it contains both alginates and bicarbonates. And each of these helps with your acid reflux.

Alginates help protect the cells of your esophagus (food pipe). They react with this stomach acid and form ‘chemical rafts’. You can think of these rafts as a protective barrier. This barrier prevents the acid from touching the cells of your esophagus. And this is how Gaviscon relieves your heartburn.

Gaviscon also contains some basic compounds. Sodium and calcium bicarbonate are common among them. These basic compounds can neutralize stomach acid. And this will help with your acid reflux.

Gaviscon vs Tums: Which is more effective?

Both Gaviscon and Tums are quite effective antacids. Among the over-the-counter medications, they work quite well. However, Gaviscon is a bit more effective than Tums.

Gaviscon contains both sodium alginate and bicarbonate. So, it works in both ways. The sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate component neutralizes the acid. Hence there’s less acid to damage the cells of your esophagus.

It also contains sodium alginate. And as you’ve already read, this compound forms a barrier. This barrier protects the cells of your esophagus from the remaining acid.

Tums, on the other hand, contain only calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a basic compound. It can neutralize the acid. This works fast to reduce the amount of acid coming up to your esophagus. But it doesn’t make a protective barrier like the Alginate in Gaviscon.

For this reason, Gaviscon is more effective than Tums. Various research articles also support this. Scientists found that antacid plus alginate (Gaviscon) is two to four times more effective than antacid alone (Tums).

Gaviscon vs Tums: Which is faster or longer?

Gaviscon and Tums both start working almost immediately. That’s because both of these drugs can neutralize the acid. However, there may be individual differences.

Gaviscon contains both alginates and basic compounds. So, it can start relieving your pain quickly. Some say it works as fast as 5-10 minutes. But some say it takes around 15-30 minutes to start its action.

Tums on the other hand begins its action almost immediately. Tums contain a good amount of basic substance. So, it neutralizes the acid almost immediately. This will give you quick pain relief.

But Gaviscon is better in terms of longevity. Since it’s alginate, it can work longer. For some people, it works for up to 4-5 hours. Tums on the other hand is just an antacid. So, it can work up to two to three hours. After that, it’ll lose its effects.

Gaviscon vs Tums: Uses

Both of these drugs are over-the-counter heartburn medications. They work well in cases where too much stomach acid damages your cells. But Tums and Gaviscon have slightly different mechanisms of action. So, let’s take a look at the individual uses of these drugs:

Tums use

As you’ve already read, Tums are a basic compound. So, it can help neutralize stomach acid. But it can also decrease the total acid in your body. So it is useful for conditions where your body has acid buildup. The uses of Tums are:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Dyspepsia and nausea due to acid

There are also some off-label uses of Tums. However, you can use Tums for these conditions only if your doctor has said so. These are:

  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • Different forms of gastritis
  • Biliary reflux
  • Dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting
  • Osteoporosis
  • To make the urine more alkaline in certain poisoning or overdose cases
  • In chronic kidney disease

Gaviscon uses

Gaviscon contains both calcium carbonate along with Sodium alginate. So, you can expect to perform like Tums. The concentration of calcium carbonate is less than that of Tums. However, the presence of alginate makes it more effective. It also adds some other uses for Gaviscon.

The uses of this popular drug are:

  • The over-the-counter choice for Gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and bloating after meals due to acid

Doctors can prescribe Gaviscon for other purposes as well. You shouldn’t take Gaviscon for these purposes without consulting a doctor. These uses are:

  • Peptic ulcer disease
  • In combination with PPI (first-line therapy for ulcer healing) where symptoms persist after PPI
  • Other forms of esophagitis
  • Non-ulcer dyspepsia
  • Esophagitis associated with hiatus hernia
  • Prevention of absorption of various compounds in the GI tract (Strontium)

Gaviscon vs Tums during Pregnancy

You’ll be glad to know that both of these drugs are safe during pregnancy. These drugs don’t get into your bloodstream. They work inside the stomach. And after their action, they come out through the feces. A very small amount will go into your system.

If they don’t go into the blood, they can’t harm the fetus. For the same reason as well, you can take these during breastfeeding also.

Gaviscon vs Tums: Side effects

Tums and Gaviscon both work inside your stomach. So, these drugs don’t have to go into your bloodstream. For this reason, they are safe in terms of side effects. That being said, there are some mild side effects. And rarely, some serious side effects may also come up.

Let’s take a look at the side effects:

Tums side effects

Common side effects are:

Tums contain Calcium carbonate. Calcium is an important component of the human body. But too much calcium can cause a lot of problems. The following might happen due to too much calcium:

  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Heart problems like arrhythmia
  • Pancreatitis
  • Drowsiness
  • Kidney injury
  • Kidney stones
  • Muscle weakness

Rarely, some severe side effects may be seen with Tums. These are:

  • Anaphylactic or allergic reaction
  • Severe Alkalosis
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Severe hypercalcemia

Gaviscon side effects

Like Tums, Gaviscon is a safe drug also. Since it contains calcium carbonate like Tums, there can be similar side effects. However, since the calcium content is less, the chance of high calcium levels are low.

But, there’s also sodium bicarbonate and sodium alginate. Some formulations of Gaviscon also contain aluminum and magnesium based compounds. So, there may be some other side effects.

Common side effects of Gaviscon are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Mood change
  • Slow breathing
  • Rebound acidity
  • Problems with taste sensation

Like Tums, there can be some severe side effects with Gaviscon too. These are not very common. So you can rest assured. But on the off-chance, they do occur, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Below are some of those side effects:

  • Anaphylaxis or allergic reaction
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Severe alkalosis

Gaviscon vs Tums: Pros and Cons

Let’s summarize the pros and cons of Tums and Gaviscon.

Gaviscon Pros

  • More effective
  • Has a dual mechanism of action – both as Alginates and Antacids
  • Works for longer

Gaviscon Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Side effects

Tums Pros

  • Works immediately
  • Slightly less expensive

Tums Cons

  • Duration of action is less
  • Effectivity is less compared to Gaviscon
  • Side effects


Is Gaviscon more effective than Tums?

Yes, Gaviscon is more effective than Tums. Tums is an antacid. Gaviscon is an antacid-alginate combination. Studies have shown that this combination is more effective than antacid alone.

Antacids neutralize stomach acid. Alginates form a barrier to protect the cells from the acid. Gaviscon works in both ways. But Tums only work by neutralizing acid. That’s why Gaviscon is slightly more effective.

Is Gaviscon good for gastritis?

Yes, Gaviscon is good for gastritis. Gaviscon can neutralize the acid in the stomach. It can also protect the cells of the stomach. This prevents inflammation and helps with healing in gastritis. However, you should see a doctor if you think you have gastritis. They can check your condition and prescribe the drug most suited for you.

Is omeprazole better than Tums?

Omeprazole is definitely better than Tums. Omeprazole is a proton pump inhibitor or PPI. PPIs are the most advanced drugs for reducing acid secretion. They suppress the activity of the acid-secreting cells in your stomach. They take longer to work. But their effects are long-lasting.

Tums is an antacid. It only neutralizes the acid. But it can’t stop the stomach from making too much acid. It can work fast. But its actions last for a short time. And it’s also less effective.

Who should not take Gaviscon?

People who are allergic to Gaviscon should avoid this drug. So if you’ve had a reaction to Gaviscon in the past, you shouldn’t take it. Other than that, you also should be way if you have the following:

  • Kidney disease, especially kidney stones
  • Heart disease
  • Hypercalcemia – Too much calcium in blood
  • Hypercalciuria – Too much calcium in urine
  • Phenylketonuria – a genetic disorder
  • Low phosphate diet

It’s best to speak to your doctor if you have any of these. They can suggest which over-the-counter antacid medication will work best for you.


Hope you got all the information you needed about Gaviscon vs Tums. On the one hand, Gaviscon is a bit more effective and works longer. But it costs a bit more.

Tums on the other hand work almost immediately. But it may be slightly less effective and may work for a shorter time. On the upside, it is slightly cheaper.

But both of these drugs are quite effective in their own rights. If you’re suffering from heartburn, both Tums and Gaviscon can give you relief.

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