Drug Investigation

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

Investigation into the Barrier Action of an Alginate Gastric Reflux Suppressant, Liquid Gaviscon®

  • Neena Washington
Original Research Article


The barrier properties of an alginate antireflux agent (Liquid Gaviscon®, Reckitt and Colman, UK) were investigated using a portable cadmium telluride detector worn on the chest wall over the oesophagus to detect the reflux of radiolabelled food, with simultaneous oesophageal pH monitoring. A crossover study was performed in 12 healthy nonpatient volunteers.

An oesophageal pH probe was placed coincident with a small γ-detector strapped to the chest wall and the positioning verified using γ-scintigraphy. A test meal designed to promote reflux was radiolabelled and administered to the subjects. On 1 occasion, subjects received only the meal, and on the second occasion the subjects also received a 20ml dose of alginate antireflux agent (Liquid Gaviscon®) 30 minutes after the meal had been consumed. The reflux of radiolabel and acid was monitored for 3 hours post-prandially.

The antireflux agent was found to significantly reduce the amount of both acid and food reflux. The length of time for which the pH in the oesophagus was below 4 was 19.9 ± 1.6 minutes (mean ± SEM) in the untreated group, but 3.0 ± 4.0 minutes for the treated group. Although the absolute amounts of acid refluxed cannot be measured, it is possible to estimate the ratio of amounts of acid refluxed in treated and untreated groups. This ratio was 0.119 ± 0.028, indicating that the antireflux agent prevented the reflux of 88% of the acid refluxed by the untreated group. The ratio of the amount of food reaching the oesophagus in treated and untreated groups could be similarly estimated from the refluxed activity data as 0.095 ± 0.024, indicating suppression of food reflux by 90%. This study demonstrates that Liquid Gaviscon® significantly reduces the reflux of both food and acid.


Untreated Group Drug Invest Reflux Event 20ml Dose Gaviscon 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnardo DE, Lancaster-Smith M, Strickland ID, Wright JT. A double blind controlled trial of ‘Gaviscon’ in patients with symptomatic gastro-oesophageal reflux. Current Medical Research and Opinion 3: 388–391, 1975PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beeley M, Warner JO. Medical treatment of symptomatic hiatus hernia with low density compounds. Current Medical Research and Opinion 1: 63–69, 1972PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bennett CE, Hardy JG, Wilson CG. The influence of posture on gastric emptying of antacids. International Journal of Pharmaceutics 21: 341–347, 1984CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chaput de Saintonge DM, Earlam RJ, Wright JT, Evans SJW, Hillenbrand P, et al. An antacid preparation in the treatment of duodenal ulcer. Practitioner 220: 321–324, 1978Google Scholar
  5. Chevrel B. A comparative cross-over study on the treatment of heartburn and epigastric pain: Liquid Gaviscon and a magnesium-aluminium antacid gel. Journal of International Medical Research 8: 300–302, 1980PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fisher RS, Malmud LS, Roberts GS, Lobis IF. Gastro-oesophageal scintiscanning to detect and quantify gastro-oesophageal reflux. Gastroenterology 70: 301–308, 1976PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Johnson LF, DeMeester TR. 24 hour monitoring of the distal oesophagus: a quantitative measure of gastro-oesophageal reflux. American Journal of Gastroenterology 62: 325–332, 1974PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Johnsson F, Joelsson B, Isberg P-E. Ambulatory 24 hour intraoesophageal pH-monitoring in the diagnosis of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. Gut 28: 1145–1150, 1987PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kaul B, Petersen H, Grette K, Erichsen H, Myrvold HE. Scintigraphy, pH measurement and radiography in the evaluation of gastro-oesophageal reflux. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 20: 289–294, 1985PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaul B, Petersen H, Grette K, Myrvold HE. Reproducibility of gastro-oesophageal reflux scintigraphy and the standard acid reflux test. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 21: 795–798, 1986PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Malmud LS, Charkes ND, Littlefield J, Reilley J, Stern H, et al. The mode of action of an alginic acid compound in the reduction of gastro-oesophageal reflux. Journal of Nuclear Medicine 20: 1023–1028, 1979PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Schindbeck NE, Ippisch H, Heinrich C, Müller-Lissner SA. Which pH threshold is best in oesophageal pH-metry? Abstract. Gastroenterology 94: A407, 1988Google Scholar
  13. Stanciu C, Bennett JR. Alginate/antacid in the reduction of gastro-oesophageal reflux. Lancet 1: 109–111, 1974PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Velasco N, Allen FH, Hill LD. A simple solid-phase marker for gastric emptying studies. British Journal of Radiology 55: 533–534, 1982PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Washington N, Washington C, Wilson CG. The effect of food on the gastric emptying of an alginate raft. Abstract. Society for Drug Research, Cambridge, 1986aGoogle Scholar
  16. Washington N, Washington C, Wilson CG, Davis SS. The effect of inclusion of aluminium hydroxide in alginate-containing raft-forming antacids. International Journal of Pharmaceutics 28: 139–143, 1986bCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Washington N, Washington C, Wilson CG, Davis SS. What is ‘Liquid Gaviscon’? A comparison of four international formulations. International Journal of Pharmaceutics 343: 105–109, 1986cCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Washington N, Washington C, Wilson CG. Gastric distribution and residence time, of two anti-reflux formulations. International Journal of Pharmaceutics 39: 163–171, 1987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Washington N, Moss HA, Wilson CG. The use of an ambulatory cadmium telluride detector to monitor postprandial reflux of food. Abstract. Gut 29: A1451–A1452, 1988Google Scholar
  20. Williams DL, Haigh GC, Redfern JN. The symptomatic treatment of heartburn and dyspepsia with Liquid Gaviscon: a multicentre general practitioner study. Journal of International Medical Research 7: 551–555, 1979PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ADIS Press Limited 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neena Washington
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyQueen’s Medical CentreNottinghamEngland

Personalised recommendations