Compare Tums vs. Alka-Seltzer

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

Tums
(calcium carbonate)

Alka-Seltzer Original
(aspirin / citric acid / sodium bicarbonate)

Relieves heartburn. Tums (Calcium carbonate) gives quick relief for heartburn, but does not last all day. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other medicines if you need additional relief.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.22Tums
Reviews for Tums
82%
of people (All ages) say Tums is worth it
43%
say it works well
5%
say it's a big hassle
1373 reviews
Have you used Tums (calcium carbonate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Alka-Seltzer
81%
+1% better vs. Tums
52%
-9% worse vs. Tums
8%
+3% better vs. Tums
1055 reviews
Have you used Alka-Seltzer Original (aspirin / citric acid / sodium bicarbonate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
TumsAlka-Seltzer

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

FDA side effect reports for Tums »

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

FDA side effect reports for Alka-Seltzer »
How it works
TumsAlka-Seltzer
Tums (Calcium carbonate) is an antacid. It relieves heartburn and indigestion by neutralizing stomach acid.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
TumsAlka-Seltzer
Over-the-counterOver-the-counter
Available as
TumsAlka-Seltzer
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Chewable tablet
  • Effervescent tablet
Used for
TumsAlka-Seltzer
Risk factors for serious side effects
TumsAlka-Seltzer
    Coming soon.
    • Current kidney disease
    • Kidney dialysis
    • Age 65 or older
    • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
    • High blood pressure
    Detailed Alka-Seltzer Original (aspirin / citric acid / sodium bicarbonate) 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.

    Food
    TumsAlka-Seltzer
    No food related info.
    • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
    Kidneys and liver
    TumsAlka-Seltzer
    • May increase calcium levels too much in people with kidney or thyroid conditions.
    • 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.
    Upsides and benefits
    TumsAlka-Seltzer
    • Tums (Calcium carbonate) is an effective, first-line medication for hearburn.
    • Tums (Calcium carbonate) starts working in seconds.
    • Has minimal side effects.
    • Available in chewable form.
    • Is inexpensive and readily available over-the-counter.
    • Coupons are available – speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
    • 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
    TumsAlka-Seltzer
    • Because Tums (Calcium carbonate) only lasts for 1 to 2 hours, you may need additional doses.
    • May increase calcium levels too much in people with kidney or thyroid conditions.
    • May have a chalky taste.
    • 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
    TumsAlka-Seltzer
    • Take at the first sign of discomfort.
    • You may need to separate Tums (Calcium carbonate) from some medicines to avoid interactions. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about all the medicines you're taking, including prescription, supplements, and over the counter medicines.
    • Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help alleviate some symptoms of heartburn.
    • Certain spicy or fatty foods increase your risk of heartburn. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out which foods you should avoid.
    • Avoiding eating 3 hours before bedtime can also help prevent heartburn.
    • If heartburn doesn't improve or lasts more than 2 weeks, talk to your doctor.
    • 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 TumsSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Tums (calcium carbonate)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about Alka-SeltzerSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Alka-Seltzer Original (aspirin / citric acid / sodium bicarbonate)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it