Gaviscon, the most popular of the alginate based remedies for acid reflux.
It comes in a variety of preparations.
The basic ingredients are sodium alginate, and some combination of sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, and calcium carbonate. Of these, the sodium alginate is the most significant for those of us who struggle with acid reflux.
Sodium alginate forms a layer on the top of the stomach contents, which helps to prevent acid flowing into the esophagus, causing the symptoms of reflux.
Gaviscon Original and Gaviscon Advance are both aimed at tackling the effects of acid in the esophagus and throat.
Gaviscon Double action is designed to tackle both reflux and indigestion. It contains sodium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate, as well as sodium alginate.
All three formulations are available in liquid and tablet form. Gaviscon Original comes in mint or strawberry flavour – you pay extra for strawberry flavour!! As a basic rule of thumb, 10ml of liquid has the same level of ingredients as two tablets.
But which is better, liquid or tablets?
Instinctively you may feel that the liquid would be faster acting. There is no need to chew. It just slips down to form that all important raft. There is a sensation of cooling as you swallow the liquid. This is increasingly noticeable, as reflux symptoms become more severe.
Carrying a bottle and measure when you are out an about, is not convenient. Taking the liquid form at night is also more involved. You need to put the light on for a start, in order avoid waking up in the morning encrusted with aniseed. Don’t be tempted to swig from the bottle. Apart from not being able to control the dose, it is extremely unhygienic.
Gaviscon have thought of this, and Original and Double Action are available in handy, single dose sachet. This is, however, an expensive way to buy your Gaviscon. 12 10ml sachets cost about £4.30 – compared with £6.30 for 300ml in a bottle….
Tablets are more convenient, easy to carry around and there is no evidence to suggest that they are any less efficient. They must be chewed thoroughly, and this action forms a suspension of alginate, which enables it to form a raft.
Some feel that the liquid acts faster, and also coats the throat. However, it is the action in the stomach that is important. You need to decide which works best for you.
So which formulation should you choose?
If, like me, reflux is your major problem, Gaviscon advance is the most effective and quick acting of the Gaviscon family. It contains twice the amount of alginate compared with the other formulas.
I have found it particularly effective at night and
I use the tablets for convenience.
The only difference I have noticed is that the liquid gives you a cooling feeling as you swallow it, but after that the effects are pretty much the same.
Unfortunately Acid Reflux can be an expensive habit. Gaviscon Advance is significantly
more expensive than the other preparations. The “over the counter” cost at retail pharmacies, such as Boots, works out at 25p per tablet for Gavison Advance.
This is nearly 60% higher than the 14p per tablet for Gaviscon Double Action.
The answer is to shop on line….
I buy 60 advance tablets for less than £7.00 – a cost of 11p per tablet – less than half the
“over the counter” cost.
You can get these from Amazon here…
You should check around on Amazon for multi-buys like this like this pack of 6, which can work out even more economically
Whatever you use, remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and don’t take more than the recommended dose.