Over time, I have received a number of emails from patients regarding the best type of Gaviscon Advance they should purchase for relief of NON-acidic laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). The blunt answer is to get the Gaviscon Advance Suspension/Liquid made by Reckitt Benckiser which contains at least 500mg of sodium alginate in 5ml dose (1 tsp) or 1 gram in 10cc dose (2 tsps). This formula of Gaviscon Advance cannot be purchased in the United States, but instead overseas via online pharmacies located in the United Kingdom (link). Occasionally, Amazon.com does stock it.
The Gaviscon (without the "advance") sold in the United States is manufactured and distributed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and not Reckitt Benckiser. The US brand of Gaviscon by GSK contains less of the key ingredient sodium alginate which helps with NON-acidic reflux. Alginate is a natural product derived from seaweed. The alginate reacts with the acid in the stomach to produce a "raft" barrier that acts as a physical block to reflux. It is the only non-surgical treatment that can physically prevent reflux disease regardless of whether it is acidic or not. Alginates work rapidly, are long lasting, inexpensive, and have no known side-effects.
But because Gaviscon Advance is so hard to obtain in the United States, one of my patients suggested why not take just the sodium alginate and forget about the gaviscon? After all, it's the sodium alginate that's the key ingredient that is thought to help.
Even better is the fact that sodium alginate is easier to find and obtain.
If possible, I would stick to roughly the same amount of sodium alginate that would be ingested if Gaviscon Advance itself was taken:
Some of these other alternative products can be found on Amazon as shown below. However, be aware that for effective reflux control, other supplemental ingredients to "activate" the alginate is required. Read here for more info.
You can make your own Gaviscon Advance from its component ingredients commonly found in the United States here.
DISCLAIMER!!! Please be aware that I can NOT vouch for overall effectiveness of these alternatives which have NOT been scientifically tested for clinical effectiveness nor is regulated by the FDA even though the same active ingredient sodium alginate is present. Research has been done with Gaviscon Advance, but not with these alternatives. Use at your own risk!!!
An evaluation of the antireflux properties of sodium alginate by means of combined multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH-metry. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jan 1;21(1):29-34
The value of a liquid alginate suspension (Gaviscon Advance) in the management of laryngopharyngeal reflux. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 Feb;266(2):243-51. Epub 2008 May 28.
The role of an alginate suspension on pepsin and bile acids - key aggressors in the gastric refluxate. Does this have implications for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease? J Pharm Pharmacol. 2009 Aug;61(8):1021-8.
An alginate-antacid formulation (Gaviscon Double Action Liquid) can eliminate or displace the postprandial 'acid pocket' in symptomatic GERD patients. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Jul;34(1):59-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2011.04678.x. Epub 2011 May 3.