Compare Tagamet vs. Alka-Seltzer

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


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

Relieves heartburn and acid tummy. Tagamet (Cimetidine) works well for heartburn but may not last as long or start working as quickly as other antacids.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.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
Reviews for Tagamet (Cimetidine)
of people say Tagamet (Cimetidine) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
631 reviews
Reviews for Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate)
+18% vs. Tagamet (Cimetidine)
+16% vs. Tagamet (Cimetidine)
+4% vs. Tagamet (Cimetidine)
1053 reviews
Side effects
  • Headache 2%
More Tagamet side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Alka-Seltzer »
How it works
Tagamet (Cimetidine) is a type of antacid called an H2 blocker. It blocks the chemical histamine, which lowers acid production in your stomach. This treats heartburn and helps ulcers heal.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.
Type of medication
Acid reducer
Histamine blocker
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Chewable tablet
  • Effervescent tablet
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • Current kidney disease
    • Current liver disease
    • Age 50 or older
    • Current severe illness
      • Autoimmune disease
      • HIV or AIDS
      • Organ transplant
      • People without a spleen
      Detailed Tagamet (Cimetidine) risks & warnings »
        • 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 »
          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
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          No specific food-related info.
          • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
          Kidneys and liver
          • People with kidney disease may need to take a lower dose.
          • Tagamet (Cimetidine) can cause states of intense confusion. This is usually reversible when you stop taking Tagamet (Cimetidine). If you have kidney problems, you may need a different dose to prevent this increased risk for side effects. However, stopping Tagamet (Cimetidine) completely may be necessary.
          • 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.
          • Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate) contains sodium. Sodium can raise blood pressure and cause your body to hold on to water. If you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or kidney disease you should not take Alka-Seltzer Original (Aspirin / Citric Acid / Sodium Bicarbonate).
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
          No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          • Most people can take Cimetidine without any noticeable day-to-day side effects.
          • Cimetidine lasts longer than many other antacids like Maalox and 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.
          • Available as both a generic and over-the-counter option, so it's pretty affordable.
          • 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.
          Downsides and risks
          • Other antacids like Maalox, Tums, or Rolaids often start to work more quickly than Cimetidine.
          • Medication like omeprazole (proton pump inhibitors) works better at healing and preventing stomach ulcers than medication like Cimetidine (H2 blockers).
          • Has more drug interactions than zantac and pepcid.
          • Although rare, Cimetidine can cause large breasts or impotence for men who need to use high doses for 6 months or more. It's reversible though and should go away when you stop or if you change medication.
          • 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.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • Works best if you take it with a full glass of water.
          • Starts working in one hour.
          • If heartburn doesn't improve or lasts more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor.
          • People with kidney disease may need to take a lower dose.
          • Tell your doctor all of the medications that you use before taking Cimetidine to avoid drug interactions.
          • 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.
          Learn more
          More about TagametSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about Alka-SeltzerSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert