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Gaviscon - a floating seal?


Gaviscon is intended for the symptomatic treatment of hiatus hernia and oesophageal reflux. It is a mixture of alginic acid and sodium alginate with magnesium trisilicate, aluminium hydroxide and sodium bicarbonate. When chewed the alginic acid reacts with the sodium bicarbonate of saliva to form sodium alginate (and CO2). The makers claim that this reacts with gastric acid to form a viscous frothy gel of low specific gravity, which floats on the gastric contents and so prevents gastro-oesophageal reflux in the erect position. In the duodenum the gel is neutralised, and becomes a sodium alginate solution of low viscosity.

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