Tums is an over-the-counter (OTC) antacid. It’s used to treat heartburn, also known as acid reflux. Tums can also be used to treat other symptoms of indigestion.

It’s usually safe to drink alcohol when taking Tums. However, keep in mind that alcohol may cause additional stomach irritation and worsen heartburn symptoms.

Here’s a look at the side effects of drinking alcohol if you have heartburn, and the precautions to take if you use Tums to ease your symptoms.

The active ingredient in Tums is calcium carbonate. Most pharmacies also carry generic forms of this medication.

Tums is used to treat the following symptoms:

These symptoms are associated with excess stomach acid. Stomach acid has a low pH value.

The calcium carbonate found in Tums, however, has a high pH value. It is basic, which is the opposite of acidic. When you take it, it neutralizes acid.

In other words, it works by balancing the pH level in your stomach.

Tums is also prescribed as a nutritional supplement for people who don’t get enough dietary calcium (hypocalcemia), which can lead to osteoporosis.

It’s safe to drink alcohol if you take Tums. There’s no known interaction between calcium carbonate and alcohol.

With that said, keep in mind that alcohol can aggravate heartburn and other symptoms associated with indigestion. The reason for this is because alcoholic beverages can increase gastric acid secretions.

Alcohol also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. This is the muscle that blocks acid from flowing up from your stomach into your esophagus. Both of these factors can contribute to heartburn.

As a result, you might want to consider avoiding alcohol altogether if you’ve taken Tums because you’re experiencing heartburn. Tums isn’t intended to treat heartburn caused by alcohol consumption.

You can minimize alcohol-related heartburn by following the recommendations in the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The guidelines suggest limiting alcohol to a maximum of one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Tums is generally safe to use for heartburn, with a low risk of side effects when taken as directed.

Still, side effects can sometimes occur. These include:

  • abdominal pain or cramps
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dry mouth
  • gas and belching
  • increased urination
  • loss of appetite
  • a metallic taste
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting

Most of the time, these symptoms will go away once you stop taking Tums. Contact your doctor if your side effects are severe or continue even when you stop taking the medication.

Tums is generally safe for adults and children over the age of 12. For children under 12 and pregnant women, ask a doctor or pharmacist about recommended doses.

Before taking Tums, have a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure this medication is right for you. Let them know if:

  • you’re allergic to certain drugs or drug ingredients
  • you’re currently taking other prescription or non-prescription drugs, including vitamins and herbal supplements
  • you have or have had kidney or liver disease
  • you have or have had a stomach condition
  • you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive

The calcium carbonate in Tums can reduce the effectiveness of some other medications. In general, you should avoid taking Tums 2 hours before or after taking other medication.

Keep in mind that Tums is only meant to be taken occasionally, unless your doctor has told you otherwise. If your heartburn or indigestion symptoms last more than 2 weeks, follow up with your doctor.

To take Tums safely, follow the directions on the label or the prescription. The recommended dose depends on the product strength. Do not exchange one Tums product for another without checking the dose.

Most Tums products are chewable. To take them, chew the tablets thoroughly before swallowing them. You can wash them down with a glass of water.

If you miss a dose, it’s fine to take the medication when you remember or wait until it’s time to take the next dose. But don’t take extra Tums to make up for a missed dose.

Most people experience mild heartburn from time to time. If you don’t have Tums on hand, or you’d prefer to address your heartburn without medication, you may want to try the following natural remedies:

  • Stand up. Sitting or lying down after eating can increase your risk of heartburn. Stand up to let gravity do the work of keeping acid in your stomach.
  • Chew gum. Popping a stick of gum after a meal triggers the production of saliva, which may help reduce acid in your esophagus.
  • Avoid coffee. Some people enjoy drinking coffee after a meal, but this may contribute to excess acid.
  • Try baking soda. Like Tums, baking soda is a basic compound that can help neutralize stomach acid. Dissolve a teaspoon in a glass of water and drink it slowly.
  • Avoid cigarettes. Smoking can cause heartburn. If you’re a smoker experiencing heartburn, try to avoid having another cigarette. If heartburn is a common occurrence, you may want to talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking.

Other lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, can also help to reduce heartburn in the long-term. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out more.

Tums is a common OTC medication that’s used to treat heartburn and other symptoms of indigestion.

There’s no known interaction between Tums and alcohol. Although it’s safe to have an alcoholic drink while taking Tums, it’s important to remember that alcohol can worsen heartburn.

Alcoholic beverages can increase gastric acid secretions and also cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax. Because of this, it’s generally a good idea to avoid alcohol when you have heartburn.