Compare Nexium vs. Tums

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


(Calcium Carbonate)

Treats heartburn and stomach ulcers. Nexium (Esomeprazole) gives you long-lasting heartburn relief. But this purple pill ain't cheap! The generic forms of alternative drugs work just as well, and are usually less expensive.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
Reviews for Nexium (Esomeprazole)
of people (All ages) say Nexium (Esomeprazole) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
1226 reviews
Have you used Nexium (Esomeprazole)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Tums (Calcium Carbonate)
+7% vs. Nexium (Esomeprazole)
16% vs. Nexium (Esomeprazole)
+6% vs. Nexium (Esomeprazole)
1370 reviews
Have you used Tums (Calcium Carbonate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects

The Nexium FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Nexium side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Tums »
How it works
Nexium (Esomeprazole) is a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). It lowers the amount of acid in your stomach, treats heartburn, and heals ulcers.Tums (Calcium Carbonate) is an antacid. It counteracts the effects of stomach acid to relieve heartburn and acid tummy (indigestion).
Type of medication
Acid reducer
Proton pump inhibitor
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • Helicobacter pylori infection
    • Autoimmune disease
    • Being hospitalized
    • Antibiotic use
    • Osteoporosis
    • Age 50 or older
    • Using high medication doses
    • Long-term therapy (1 year or more)
    • Smoking
    • Use of other medications that weaken bones
      Detailed Nexium (Esomeprazole) 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 category
        BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

        Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

        See the FDA package insert
        NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

        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.

        See the FDA package insert
        • Take 1 hour before a meal.
        No specific food related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver related info.
        • 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
        • Most people can take Nexium without any noticeable day-to-day side effects.
        • Nexium lasts longer than other types of antacids (like Zantac, Pepcid, or Tums), and you only need to take it once or twice a day.
        • You can take it in combination with a quick-acting antacid (like Maalox or Tums) if you need relief right away.
        • In studies it was better than a placebo (sugar pill) and as good as other proton pump inhibitors at treating heartburn.
        • Available as both a generic and over-the-counter option, so it's pretty affordable.
        • Works really fast.
        • Available over the counter without a prescription.
        • Cheap.
        Downsides and risks
        • Doesn't start working as fast as some other antacids like Tums, Rolaids, or Maalox.
        • Like with other proton pump inhibitors, long-term use can cause weak or broken bones.
        • Can cause low levels of magnesium in the blood. You might need to take a magnesium supplement if you use Nexium long-term.
        • Can be expensive—especially the purple brand-name pill. Other alternatives are usually cheaper than Nexium and work just as well.
        • Can interact with other drugs so be sure your doctor knows all the medicine you're taking before starting Nexium.
        • 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
        • Take 1 hour before a meal.
        • Don't chew or crush capsules; swallow them whole.
        • If you have trouble swallowing you can carefully open the capsules and sprinkle the inside pellets onto applesauce. Swallow the applesauce without chewing or crushing the pellets.
        • When using Nexium long-term, take a calcium citrate with vitamin D supplement daily to prevent bone loss. Be sure it's calcium citrate because it works the best when using a proton pump inhibitor.
        • Get a blood test for your magnesium level once a year; you may need a magnesium supplement while using Nexium.
        • Avoid drug interactions by telling your doctor all of the other medications or herbal supplements you take before starting Nexium.
        • 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 NexiumSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Nexium (Esomeprazole)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it
        More about TumsSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        Have you used Tums (Calcium Carbonate)?
        Worth itNot sureNot worth it