Ask the pharmacist: Can bicarb of soda help acid reflux?

As part of a weekly series, in association with LloydsPharmacy, Colin Dougall from LloydsPharmacy in Glasgow answers your common medicine queries…

Colin Dougall, from LloydsPharmacy in Glasgow, gives expert advice

Q: Can bicarb of soda help acid reflux?

Bicarb of soda is recognised as a home remedy to help with acid reflux.

As it is alkaline it may help neutralise acid in the stomach. But check with your pharmacist to make sure it doesn’t interact with any other medicines you’re taking.

Alternatively you could try an over-the-counter remedy that has the same, neutralising effect (there are other products that actually reduce acid production).

If acid reflux problems persist for more than two weeks, it is important to see a GP to check for an underlying cause. 

Q: My osteoporosis pills give me heartburn. What can I do? 

Heartburn is a well-known side-effect of one of the most common osteoporosis pills – alendronic acid, taken once a week.

To avoid it, take the tablet with a full glass of water half an hour before breakfast when the stomach is completely empty (water is best, as other drinks can interact with the pills). After this, sit or stand – don’t go back to bed or lie down – for at least 30 minutes. 

This way the pills can get right down into the stomach, where they’re absorbed, before food arrives, thereby minimising the chance of heartburn. 

If you’re taking the medicine correctly and heartburn is still a problem, seek some medical advice.  


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