The best medications for bloating depend on what is causing it. Over-the-counter products such as Alka-seltzer or Gas-X may help some people. In other cases, doctors may recommend prescription medication.

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There are many things that can cause bloating, such as:

The treatments for each of these will be different.

Read on for information on OTC and prescription medication for bloating, alternative treatments, and prevention.

Simethicone, a silicone compound, is an OTC medication with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. This drug helps relieve bloating that results from excess gas in the intestines.

Some examples of simethicone products include:

  • Alka-seltzer anti-gas
  • Gas-X
  • Mylicon
  • Maalox anti-gas


The recommended dosage is:

  • Adults: 40–125 milligrams (mg) 4 times daily and a maximum daily dose of 500 mg.
  • Children 2–12 years: 40 mg 4 times daily and a maximum daily dose of 480 mg.
  • Children under 2 years: 20 mg 4 times daily and a maximum daily dose of 240 mg.

Side effects

This medication does not tend to cause serious side effects, although some people may experience mild nausea or diarrhea.

Lactase is a natural enzyme that helps break down lactose into simple sugars, which the body can easily digest. This enzyme can relieve symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as bloating. Lactaid is one product that contains lactase.


A person can take this product whenever they consume a dairy product, according to the box instructions.

Side effects

People do not usually experience any serious side effects from lactase, although some may report vomiting.

Antacids neutralize the acid in the stomach. This can alleviate heartburn symptoms, which could include bloating.


Depending on the brand, antacids may contain ingredients such as:

  • aluminum hydroxide
  • magnesium hydroxide
  • calcium salts
  • simethicone

Brand names include:

  • Mylanta
  • Tums
  • Maalox

Dosing may vary depending upon the product and the combination of ingredients. People should check the instructions to determine this.

People should use this medication when they have symptoms or feel they will start to get them. This is usually with or after meals or before going to bed.

Side effects

Potential side effects may include:

  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • flatulence
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea or vomiting

OTC laxatives may relieve bloating that is due to constipation, or a lack of bowel movements. There are four types of laxatives:

  • Bulk-forming: This type increases the bulk or weight of stool.
  • Osmotic: This draws water from the body into the bowel to soften stool.
  • Stimulants: These stimulate the muscles in the gut lining to help them to move stool along the tract.
  • Stool softener: This laxative allows water into the stool to soften it and make it easier to pass.


Laxative medications contain different ingredients, such as:

  • senna
  • sodium picosylfate
  • bisacodyl
  • arachis oil
  • docusate
  • macrogol
  • polyethylene
  • glycol lactulose

The dosage varies between products and types. However, a person should not take laxatives daily or for longer than 1 week.

Side effects

Potential side effects of laxatives include:

Bismuth subsalicylate is an OTC medication that doctors use to relieve heartburn or diarrhea. One of the most common brand names is Pepto-Bismol.

This drug is an antidiarrheal agent that:

  • decreases the flow of fluids and electrolytes to the bowel
  • reduces intestinal inflammation
  • kills the organisms that can cause diarrhea

Inactive ingredients include benzoic acid and magnesium aluminum silicate.


The recommended dosage for adults is 30 milliliters (ml) every 30–60 minutes and no more than 240 ml in 24 hours.

A person should not use this medication if they:

Side effects

Side effects may include ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Prokinetics are prescription medications that aim to improve gastric emptying and relieve symptoms of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis causes:

  • early satiety, or feeling full too quickly
  • reduced appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • bloating
  • upper abdominal pain

Two prokinetic drug examples include cisapride (Propulsid) and metoclopramide (Reglan).

Black box warnings for cisapride

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a series of black box warnings in the 1990s for prokinetics due to cardiovascular safety concerns.

Cisapride has a specific black box warning, which may cause serious irregular heartbeats, also known as arrhythmia. People should inform their doctor if they have:

People should also inform their doctor if they are taking protease inhibitors or medications for depression or an irregular heartbeat.

A person must also consult a medical professional regarding the risks and warnings associated with this drug.

Black box warnings for metoclopramide

Reglan has a black box warning of using for no longer than 12 weeks. This drug can cause complications such as:

This medication can also interact with certain medications:

People must speak with a doctor regarding the warnings and risks associated with this type of medication.

Side effects

Prokinetics may have side effects. These may include:

The following side effects could indicate a serious reaction. If these occur, contact a doctor immediately:

  • fever
  • stiff muscles
  • confusion
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts
  • chest pain
  • sweating
  • slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat
  • agitation or nervousness
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • speech issues
  • vision changes

Antispasmodic prescription drugs stop painful muscle contractions in the gut that may cause bloating and pain, such as in those with IBS. Examples of these drugs include dicyclomine (Bentyl) and hyoscine (Buscopan).


People should take these drugs according to a doctor’s instructions. The dosages and ingredients vary between types.

For example, Buscopan tablets contain 10 mg of hyoscine butylbromide. The usual dose of Buscopan in adults and children over 12 years is 2 tablets, four times a day. The dose for children between 6–11 years is 1 tablet three times per day.

Side effects

Buscopan may cause side effects in some people, but most people have no side effects or only mild effects.

Some of the effects include:

Read more about treatments for gas in the stomach.

Natural home remedies that may alleviate bloating include:

  • Activated charcoal: A 2017 study found that people who took a mixture of activated charcoal and simethicone daily reported a significant improvement in abdominal pain and did not experience side effects. However, more research is necessary to determine the effectiveness of activated charcoal as a bloating treatment.
  • Increasing water intake: Drinking more water may help reduce or avoid constipation. Learn how much water a person should drink each day.
  • Dietary changes: Eating more fiber may help to ease constipation in some people, which could reduce bloating.
  • Applying a heated pad to the stomach: A heated pad can help reduce pain associated with bloating.

Learn about other remedies for bloating.

Bloating prevention will look different depending on what the underlying problem is. It may help to:

  • Keep a food diary: A food diary can help a person learn which foods are likely to cause symptoms and therefore avoid them. It could help identify specific intolerances that may be contributing to bloating or pain.
  • Get exercise: Physical activity may relieve bloating symptoms.
  • Chew slowly: Chewing food more slowly may stimulate the release of enzymes, helping to digest food.
  • Reduce sodium: If a person consumes a lot of salty foods, following a lower sodium diet could help prevent bloating.

A person should consult a doctor if they experience bloating alongside:

The best medications for bloating will vary depending on the cause for this symptom. If a person is unsure what is causing the bloating, a doctor can provide insight and prescribe a medication to relieve the discomfort.

A person can also try natural alternatives, such as activated charcoal, drinking more water, exercise, and a heated pad on the stomach.