Compare Alka Seltzer vs. Tums

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Alka-Seltzer Original
(Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)

Tums
(Calcium Carbonate)

Relieves heartburn, headache, and body pains. Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) gives quick relief for headache, body pains, and upset tummies, but might be hard to swallow if you don't like the taste or fizz.Relieves heartburn. Tums (Calcium Carbonate) gives quick relief for heartburn, but don't expect it to last all day.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.4Alka Seltzer
Reviews for Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)
81%
of people (All ages) say Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) is worth it
52%
say it works well
8%
say it's a big hassle
1055 reviews
Have you used Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Tums (Calcium Carbonate)
82%
+1% better vs. Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)
43%
-9% worse vs. Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)
5%
+3% better vs. Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)
1373 reviews
Have you used Tums (Calcium Carbonate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Alka SeltzerTums

We haven’t found good data for Alka Seltzer side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Alka Seltzer »

We haven’t found good data for Tums side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Tums »
How it works
Alka SeltzerTums
Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) is a combination medicine. Sodium bicarbonate is an antacid that relieves heartburn and acid tummy (indigestion). Aspirin is a pain reliever that treats headache and body pains.Tums (Calcium Carbonate) is an antacid. It counteracts the effects of stomach acid to relieve heartburn and acid tummy (indigestion).
Type of medication
Alka SeltzerTums
Over-the-counter
Over-the-counter
Available as
Alka SeltzerTums
  • Chewable tablet
  • Effervescent tablet
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
Alka SeltzerTums
Risk factors for serious side effects
Alka SeltzerTums
    • Current kidney disease
    • Kidney dialysis
    • Age 65 or older
    • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
    • High blood pressure
    • Current kidney disease
    • Kidney dialysis
    • Children 18 years or younger recovering from viral infections
    • History of stomach bleeding or ulcers
    • Age 60 or older
    • Also taking other blood thinners
    • Drinking 3 or more alcoholic drinks a day
    • Asthma
    • Rhinitis
    • Nasal Polyps
    • Aspirin Allergy
    • NSAID Allergy
      Detailed Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) risks & warnings »
        • Current kidney disease
        • Kidney dialysis
        • Hyperparathyroid disease
        • Taking high doses of Vitamin D
        • Previous kidney stones
        Detailed Tums (Calcium Carbonate) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy

        The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

        The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

        Interactions
        Alka SeltzerTums
        No interactions related info.
        • You need to separate Tums from some medications to avoid interactions.
        Food
        Alka SeltzerTums
        • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
        No food related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        Alka SeltzerTums
        • If you have kidney or hyperparathyroid disease Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) can build up in your blood. This may can cause toxic levels of sodium in your body. This is more likely if you have severe kidney disease (defined as a kidney function blood test called GFR of less than 30ml/min). If you have severe kidney disease or are on kidney dialysis don't use Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate); a different antacid would be better for you.
        • People with kidney disease on dialysis may need to take a lower dose or avoid use. Your doctor can do blood tests to see if it's safe to use.
        • If you have kidney or hyperparathyroid disease Tums (Calcium Carbonate) can build up in your blood. This may can cause toxic levels of calcium in your body. This is more likely if you have severe kidney disease (defined as a kidney function blood test called GFR of less than 30ml/min). If you have severe kidney disease or are on kidney dialysis don't use Tums (Calcium Carbonate); a different antacid would be better for you.
        • Tums (Calcium Carbonate) contains calcium. Calcium can be an ingredient in some kidney stones. If you have had kidney stones in the past (especially the calcium-containing kind) be careful using Tums (Calcium Carbonate). Use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible or just play it safe and use a different antacid instead.
        Upsides and benefits
        Alka SeltzerTums
        • Works great if you have an upset stomach and a headache or body pain at the same time.
        • Works really fast.
        • Available over the counter without a prescription.
        • Cheap.
        • Works really fast.
        • Available over the counter without a prescription.
        • Cheap.
        Downsides and risks
        Alka SeltzerTums
        • Doesn't last very long.
        • Other antacids like Zantac (H2 blockers) and omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) can work better and last longer.
        • Because it has aspirin in it, it increases the risk of bleeding, especially if you take any other blood thinning medicine.
        • Can't be used by people with allergy to aspirin.
        • You may not like the taste or fizz.
        • Doesn't last very long.
        • Other antacids like Zantac (H2 blockers) and omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) can work better and last longer.
        • Some chalky aftertaste.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        Alka SeltzerTums
        • Don't take Alka-Seltzer if you're allergic to aspirin.
        • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
        • This medicine isn't recommended for kids 12 and younger because it has aspirin in it.
        • Stop taking this right away and talk to your doctor if you have ringing in your ears, rash, trouble breathing, unusual bleeding, or nausea or vomiting that doesn't go away.
        • Having a dental or medical procedure? You may need to stop taking this before the big day. Ask your dentist or doctor.
        • Alka-Seltzer contains sodium. If you need to follow a low sodium diet a different medication would be better for you.
        • Not a good choice if you have stomach bleeding, bleeding problems, diabetes, or gout, or if you're taking medicines to thin your blood.
        • Take at the first sign of discomfort.
        • You might need to take more than once a day but pay attention to the instructions on your bottle to avoid overdosing.
        • You need to separate Tums from some medications to avoid interactions.
        • If heartburn doesn't improve or lasts more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor.
        • People with kidney disease on dialysis may need to take a lower dose or avoid use. Your doctor can do blood tests to see if it's safe to use.
        • Don't take if you have high blood calcium levels.
        Learn more
        More about Alka SeltzerSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it
        More about TumsSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Tums (Calcium Carbonate)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it