Tums vs Rolaids

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For individuals suffering from heartburn or acid indigestion, certain over-the-counter antacids can provide quick relief by neutralizing the excess stomach acid. Tums and Rolaids are two such common remedies for these discomforts. They each contain different active ingredients but both effectively reduce excess stomach acidity.

Tums primarily consist of calcium carbonate which works quickly to neutralize acid in your stomach upon ingestion. On the other hand, Rolaids incorporate a combination of magnesium hydroxide and calcium carbonate as their primary active ingredients, offering dual-action relief against heartburn. While both have their advantages, it's important to consider individual health factors like kidney function before choosing an antacid since excessive intake can lead to adverse effects like kidney stones.

What is Tums?

Tums (the brand name for Calcium Carbonate) and Rolaids (which combines Calcium Carbonate with Magnesium Hydroxide) are two popular over-the-counter antacids used to neutralize stomach acid and provide relief from heartburn, indigestion, and upset stomach. Tums was first introduced in 1930, making it a long-standing go-to solution for those suffering from occasional or chronic acidity-related discomfort. It works by directly counteracting the excess acid in the stomach. On the other hand, Rolaids was first introduced to the market in 1954. Both of these medications work similarly; however, Rolaids has an additional component - magnesium hydroxide which adds further strength to its acid-neutralizing capability but may cause diarrhea as a side effect in some individuals. In contrast, Tums primarily uses calcium carbonate which tends not to have this laxative effect but can occasionally lead to constipation. Choosing between these two options will depend on personal tolerance towards possible side effects.

What conditions is Tums approved to treat?

Tums is approved for the treatment of different variations of stomach discomfort:

  • Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion
  • Upset stomach caused by overindulgence in food or drink
  • Calcium deficiency (as a supplemental source of calcium)

Rolaids, on the other hand, can be used to relieve:

  • Heartburn
  • Sour stomach
  • Acid indigestion
  • Upset stomach associated with these conditions.

How does Tums help with these illnesses?

Tums help to manage heartburn and indigestion by neutralizing the excess stomach acid in your gastrointestinal tract. It does this through its main ingredient, calcium carbonate, which is a base that can react with and neutralize acids. Stomach acid plays an important role in digestion but excessive amounts can cause discomfort like heartburn and indigestion. Therefore, by reducing acidity levels, Tums provides immediate relief from these symptoms and helps patients better manage their condition.

On the other hand, Rolaids also acts as an antacid but it uses a combination of two active ingredients: calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. This dual-ingredient approach allows Rolaids to not only neutralize stomach acid but also potentially tackle digestive issues related to low magnesium levels since some people may find relief from constipation when using products containing magnesium.

What is Rolaids?

Rolaids is a well-known brand of antacid that contains both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. These ingredients work together to neutralize stomach acid, ultimately helping to relieve symptoms associated with heartburn and acid indigestion. Rolaids was first introduced in 1954 and has been a staple in many households since then.

Unlike Tums, which only includes calcium carbonate as its active ingredient, the inclusion of magnesium hydroxide in Rolaids may offer an additional benefit for those experiencing constipation as it can have a mild laxative effect. However, this also means that excessive consumption could potentially lead to diarrhea. It's important to note that while both Tums and Rolaids are effective at relieving symptoms like heartburn or upset stomach, neither should be considered long-term solutions for chronic digestive issues.

The side-effect profile of Rolaids differs slightly from that of Tums notably due to the presence of magnesium hydroxide; it tends not to cause constipation (a common side effect with Tums). The dual-action formula found in Rolaids might thus be particularly beneficial for individuals who do not respond well or experience unwanted side effects from single-ingredient antacids such as Tums.

What conditions is Rolaids approved to treat?

Rolaids is a popular antacid used for the treatment of:

  • Heartburn
  • Acid indigestion
  • Sour stomach These over-the-counter tablets work by neutralizing stomach acid to provide fast relief. They contain two active ingredients - calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, both of which are known for their swift action against discomfort caused by excess gastric acid.

How does Rolaids help with these illnesses?

Rolaids is an antacid that effectively deals with heartburn and acid indigestion, functioning by neutralizing stomach acid through the active ingredients calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. Like norepinephrine in the body, these substances play crucial roles in many processes such as maintaining pH balance and promoting proper digestion. Rolaids works by increasing these levels available in the gut, thereby alleviating some of the symptoms of heartburn or indigestion. Its action on both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide may also play integral roles in its effectiveness as an antacid. Since it does not significantly affect other gastrointestinal conditions like peptic ulcers, it is sometimes used when a patient does not respond well to "typical" antacids (such as Tums), or may be combined with other treatment modalities for comprehensive relief.

How effective are both Tums and Rolaids?

Both Tums (calcium carbonate) and Rolaids (calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide) have a longstanding history in effectively treating symptoms associated with heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach. They were initially approved by the FDA decades ago and are available over-the-counter. Since they contain different active ingredients, they may be chosen under different circumstances based on individual needs or preferences.

Tums works by directly neutralizing stomach acid due to its calcium carbonate content while Rolaids combines both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide for a dual-action effect in combating excess stomach acidity. Although there hasn't been a head-to-head clinical trial comparing these two antacids directly, both have demonstrated efficacy in managing the discomfort of occasional heartburn through countless user experiences.

A review of antacid use indicates that products containing calcium carbonate like Tums can provide quick relief from occasional heartburn and are generally well-tolerated even when used frequently. However, excessive consumption can sometimes lead to constipation.

Rolaids' inclusion of magnesium hydroxide alongside calcium carbonate also appears effective against heartburn symptoms according to numerous anecdotal reports but lacks robust evidence-based studies comparable to those conducted for prescription medications. The addition of magnesium may counteract any potential constipating effects from the calcium component; however, it could potentially cause diarrhea if taken excessively.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Tums typically prescribed?

Dosage for Tums (calcium carbonate) range from 500–1500 mg per tablet, and the product can be taken up to three times a day for adults. Children over the age of 12 may also use Tums, but should not exceed two tablets in a 24-hour period. On the other hand, Rolaids contains both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. The typical dose is two tablets or capsules every four hours as symptoms occur. Adults should not take more than seven doses in a 24 hour period; adolescents between ages of 12-18 shouldn't exceed three doses in a day.

At what dose is Rolaids typically prescribed?

Rolaids treatment typically begins with a dosage of 2-4 tablets, chewed and swallowed at the first sign of heartburn or indigestion. If symptoms persist, this can be repeated every hour as needed or as directed by a healthcare provider. The maximum recommended dose for adults is 10 tablets in a 24-hour period and for individuals over the age of 12 years it's no more than seven tablets in a 24-hour period. It's important to note that persistent heartburn may warrant further medical investigation if there is not substantial relief after regular use at these dosages over two weeks.

What are the most common side effects for Tums?

Some possible side effects of Tums, an antacid containing calcium carbonate, include:

  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst or urination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Metallic taste in your mouth

On the other hand, Rolaids which contain both calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide may cause:

  • Diarrhea (due to its magnesium content)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slow reflexes or sluggishness due to hypermagnesemia (excessive level of magnesium in blood) if consumed excessively.

As always, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Tums?

While Tums and Rolaids are generally considered safe for occasional use, in rare cases they can cause potential side effects:

  • Signs of severe allergic reaction: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling in your face or throat
  • Possible kidney problems due to excessive calcium intake (from Tums): increased urination, loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Potential constipation or stomach cramps
  • Mood changes such as confusion or irritability
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Signs of high levels of magnesium in the blood if you're using Rolaids extensively - muscle weakness/spasms, slow/irregular heartbeat

In case these symptoms occur after taking either medication it is advised that you seek medical help immediately. Remember antacids like Tums and Rolaids should not replace a balanced diet and lifestyle adjustments when managing heartburn symptoms on a regular basis.

What are the most common side effects for Rolaids?

Potential side effects of Rolaids could include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst, increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Dizziness or headache It's important to remember that these are potential side effects and may not occur in all users. Side effects often vary based on individual tolerance, dosage, frequency of use and overall health condition. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Rolaids?

While Rolaids are generally safe, they can cause some potentially serious side effects in rare cases. Be vigilant for signs of:

  • An allergic reaction such as hives, itching or a rash
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Dizziness and fainting spells
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Confusion and changes in mood
  • Unusual tiredness and weakness

If you experience any of these symptoms while using Rolaids, discontinue its use immediately and seek medical help. It's important to remember that although over-the-counter medications like Rolaids are widely available, they still carry risks if not used correctly. Always follow the recommended dosage instructions unless advised otherwise by your healthcare provider.

Contraindications for Tums and Rolaids?

Both Tums and Rolaids, much like other antacid medications, may cause some unwanted side effects. If you notice any severe reactions or if your symptoms worsen after taking these products, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Tums nor Rolaids should be taken if you are presently using or have used in the recent past certain types of diuretics (water pills), antibiotics such as tetracycline, or iron supplements. Always inform your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements that you are currently taking to avoid harmful interactions with either Tums or Rolaids; some medicines will require a gap of two hours before or four hours after consuming an antacid for proper absorption.

It's also important to note that long-term use of high doses of antacids can lead to kidney stones due to high levels of calcium found in many over-the-counter versions. Consult with a healthcare professional prior to starting on an extended regimen involving these drugs.

How much do Tums and Rolaids cost?

For the brand-name versions of these over-the-counter drugs:

  • A bottle containing 96 tablets of Tums Extra Strength (750 mg each) averages around $5, which works out to about $0.05 - $0.10 per tablet, depending on your dose.
  • The price for a roll of Rolaids Extra Strength (10 chewable tablets, each with 675 mg calcium carbonate and 135 mg magnesium hydroxide) is approximately $2, equating to roughly $0.20 per tablet.

Thus, if you consume more than one antacid tablet at a time or several throughout the day (as directed by product usage guidelines), then brand-name Tums could be less expensive on a per-tablet basis. However, bear in mind that cost should not be the sole consideration when deciding between these two drugs.

Generic versions are available for both Tums (calcium carbonate) and Rolaids (calcium carbonate/magnesium hydroxide) typically offering similar relief at lower prices:

  • Generic calcium carbonate can range from as low as $3 for 150 chewable tablets ($0.02/tablet).
  • Generic calcium carbonate/magnesium hydroxide products may vary but generally fall within comparable ranges to their branded counterparts.

As always consult with medical professionals before changing any medication regimen or starting new ones based on costs alone.

Popularity of Tums and Rolaids

Tums and Rolaids are two of the most popular over-the-counter antacids in the US, both recognized for their ability to provide quick relief from heartburn and acid indigestion.

In 2020, Tums was estimated to have been purchased by about 6.5 million people in the US. It contains calcium carbonate which works by neutralizing excess stomach acid quickly and effectively. Tums has consistently maintained its popularity among users due to its immediate effect, ease of use, availability in various flavors, and additional benefit as a dietary supplement for those needing extra calcium.

Rolaids was used by an estimated 3.7 million people within the same year. It differs from Tums in that it contains two active ingredients: calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. This dual-ingredient formula means it not only neutralizes but also absorbs excess stomach acids providing potentially longer-lasting relief compared with single ingredient products like Tums. Despite this advantage, Rolaids still holds a lower market share than Tums possibly due to factors such as brand recognition or personal preference.


Both Tums (calcium carbonate) and Rolaids (calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide) have a long-standing record of usage in patients with heartburn, acid indigestion, and sour stomach. These antacids work by neutralizing gastric acid to provide relief from these symptoms. Due to their different formulations, they can be used under different circumstances: Tums is typically recommended for those who also need a dietary supplement of calcium, whereas Rolaids may be preferred by individuals who experience constipation as a side effect of calcium-based antacids since the magnesium in Rolaids can counteract this.

Both products are available over-the-counter which represents significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out of pocket. Both Tums and Rolaids provide fast-acting relief but require continuous use if symptoms persist.

The safety profile is similar between the two drugs; both being generally well-tolerated. However, high doses or prolonged use may lead to potential side effects such as kidney stones or hypercalcemia with Tums and diarrhea with Rolaids due to its magnesium content. As always, users should consult their healthcare provider if they notice worsening symptoms or have concerns about using these medications.