Clinically significant drug interactions with antacids: an update

Drugs. 2011 Oct 1;71(14):1839-64. doi: 10.2165/11593990-000000000-00000.


One may consider that drug-drug interactions (DDIs) associated with antacids is an obsolete topic because they are prescribed less frequently by medical professionals due to the advent of drugs that more effectively suppress gastric acidity (i.e. histamine H(2)-receptor antagonists [H2RAs] and proton pump inhibitors [PPIs]). Nevertheless, the use of antacids by ambulant patients may be ever increasing, because they are freely available as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Antacids consisting of weak basic substances coupled with polyvalent cations may alter the rate and/or the extent of absorption of concomitantly administered drugs via different mechanisms. Polyvalent cations in antacid formulations may form insoluble chelate complexes with drugs and substantially reduce their bioavailability. Clinical studies demonstrated that two classes of antibacterials (tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones) are susceptible to clinically relevant DDIs with antacids through this mechanism. Countermeasures against this type of DDI include spacing out the dosing interval - taking antacid either 4 hours before or 2 hours after administration of these antibacterials. Bisphosphonates may be susceptible to DDIs with antacids by the same mechanism, as described in the prescription information of most bisphosphonates, but no quantitative data about the DDIs are available. For drugs with solubility critically dependent on pH, neutralization of gastric fluid by antacids may alter the dissolution of these drugs and the rate and/or extent of their absorption. However, the magnitude of DDIs elicited by antacids through this mechanism is less than that produced by H2RAs or PPIs; therefore, the clinical relevance of such DDIs is often obscure. Magnesium ions contained in some antacid formulas may increase gastric emptying, thereby accelerating the rate of absorption of some drugs. However, the clinical relevance of this is unclear in most cases because the difference in plasma drug concentration observed after dosing shortly disappears. Recent reports have indicated that some of the molecular-targeting agents such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitors dasatinib and imatinib, and the thrombopoietin receptor agonist eltrombopag may be susceptible to DDIs with antacids. Finally, the recent trend of developing OTC drugs as combination formulations of an antacid and an H2RA is a concern because these drugs will increase the risk of DDIs by dual mechanisms, i.e. a gastric pH-dependent mechanism by H2RAs and a cation-mediated chelation mechanism by antacids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antacids / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Gastric Acid
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry


  • Antacids
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations