Gaviscon Heartburn

Today morning I received my delivery of Gaviscon from Canada! It's called "Gaviscon Extra Strength", just like it is here. But it has no aluminum in it. Easy as that. You don't have to do anything special. They have a helluva lot more flavors than we get here, too, including butterscotch and chocolate. These are the tablets (which in the U.S. are called "chewable tablets" and in Canada are called "chewable Foamtabs".

AstraZeneca, who is the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Gaviscon, in both countries, has completely separate phone numbers and web sites for customer service in the US and in Canada. And the US people don't know anything about the Canadian products and the Canadians don't know anything about the U.S. products.

On the U.S. web site (, in the FAQ section, there is the following question and answer:

Q. - Why was Gaviscon® Liquid changed to contain mint?
I have digestive problems and have been told to avoid mint.

A. - Gaviscon® Liquid has always had an artificial mint flavor. We added the notation "cool" to the copy a few years ago. Because Gaviscon® liquid uses artificial flavorings, it is not likely to cause reflux.

So I checked the Canadian web site ( which doesn't address that issue. So I called them (you can't use the 800# to call them from the U.S., so it was a royal pain in the butt to get transferred to them). Anyway, I asked them the same question and they didn't know the answer - regarding the mint flavor, as well as chocolate (neither of which we are supposed to eat when we have reflux problems). Apparently, although the U.S. version is made with artificial flavor, which they say shouldn't cause reflux, the Canadian version contains both, artificial AND natural flavors, so I don't know if the natural flavors would be a problem. I've called them three times in the past three weeks and they said they haven't gotten an answer from their medical department.

Therefore, I ordered "fruit flavor" and "butterscotch". I only take Gaviscon at bedtime, so I can't give you a flavor (or functionality) review yet.

But, for your reading pleasure, here are the ingredients of the Canadian version (in English and French, but I'll just give you the English here):

Per Tablet:
Medicinal Ingredients:
313 mg Alginic Acid (derived from brown seaweed)
63 mg Magnesium Carbonate

Non-Medicinal Ingredients:
Flavor, calcium stearate, sodium bicarbonate, sugar

And here are the ingredients of the American version:

Per Tablet:
Active Ingredients:
Aluminum hydroxide 160 mg
Magnesium carbonate 105 mg

Inactive Ingredients:
alginic acid, calcium stearate, flavor, sodium bicarbonate, and sucrose. May contain stearic acid.

Note that the U.S. version considers Alginic Acid to be an inactive ingredient, but the Canadian version considers it to be Active ("medicinal"). the U.S. version does not specify the quantity of alginic acid on the bottle. I called the US customer service number and they said each tablet contains 200 mg of Alginic Acid. I believe the alginic acid is what creates the "raft" of floaty material. The Canadian version contains a third more Alginic Acid than the US version (313mg versus 200 mg).

Also note that the U.S. version also contains almost twice as much Magnesium Carbonate as the Canadian version.

Acid Reflux: Infants Are At High Risk

Because of their diet and their living habits, infants are often at risk of suffering from acid reflux. Eating only soft foods and liquids, and being on their backs or in a supine position for majority of the time are major causes for acid reflux in infants.

Although it is not easy to diagnose whether a baby is suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), look for these following symptoms and consult your doctor immediately if there are any doubts:
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • lack of appetite
  • bad breath
  • trouble sleeping
  • apnea
  • frequent spitting up

Do not take acid reflux in infants lightly, as it can cause other serious diseases such as pneumonia and ulcerations on the esophageal wall.