Aspirin-Containing Antacids Can Cause Abdominal Bleeding

Before treating that awful heartburn or upset stomach, think twice about that remedy of choice.

Before treating that awful heartburn or upset stomach, think twice about that remedy of choice.

Common antacids that contain aspirin can have serious repercussions and cause major stomach or intestinal bleeding, warned the FDA.

Since issuing a warning in 2009 about bleeding risks associated with aspirin, the FDA reported eight new cases of serious bleeding from over-the-counter (OTC) aspirin-containing antacid products like Alka Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer.

Many of those cases required patients to undergo blood transfusions.

Health officials urge patients to cautiously read the drug facts label when searching for stomach symptom relief. According to Karen Murry Mahoney, MD, deputy director of the division of nonprescription drug products, if the product has aspirin, patients should consider choosing something else for their stomach symptoms.

Mahoney did highlight in a news release that the FDA is not telling people to stop taking aspirin altogether. “Today we’re focusing on bleeding risk specifically with antacid-aspirin products used to treat upset stomach or heartburn,” she said.

Prior research had long established aspirin thins the blood.

As such, FDA officials warn people with one or more risk factors already have a higher chance of serious bleeding with aspirin-containing antacid products:

· Age 60 or older

· Have history of stomach ulcers or bleeding problems

· Take drugs that reduce the ability of your blood to clot

· Take steroid medicine, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation

· Take other medicines containing NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen

· Drink three or more alcoholic drinks every day

Mahoney continued that consumers do have several alternatives to treat their heartburns, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and upset stomach.

Many OTC medications actually only contain an antacid, like calcium carbonate, magnesium hydroxide, or another antacid. Additinoally, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) or H2 blockers are great acid reducers for people suffering from heartburn.

Though healthcare providers often advise patients to take an aspirin daily to help prevent heart attacks, officials urge patients to periodically discuss their regimen with their doctors at the first sign of irregular symptoms like feeling faint, vomiting blood, or bloody stools.