The food and drug administration recently released a warning against bleeding risks and the use of over-the-counter aspirin-antacids. OTC aspirin-antacids are used for treating gastric reflux or upset stomachs and are marketed as Alka Seltzer and other effervescent store brands. The overuse of these type medications, especially in combination with other blood thinning agents, greatly increase bleeding risks and could result in the need for medical management or hospitalization.
Bleeding risks are also elevated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids and blood thinners. Medical conditions such as stomach ulcers, bleeding problems and some cancers put people at greater risk for bleeding. When you are at a higher risk for bleeding it is important to limit the use of OTC medications, especially those containing aspirin, and monitor for any signs of bleeding. Other bleeding risk factors include being over the age of 60 and drinking three or more alcoholic drinks daily.
While aspirin containing antacids are very effective for treating mild reflux and upset stomach they should be limited, especially if you are at a higher risk of bleeding because of other medications or medical conditions. If you need to use OTC medications for relief of reflux more than two days a week you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms and what the best treatment might be. Talk with your doctor at the first sign of bleeding or unusual symptoms you may be experiencing.