Does amoxicillin cause acid reflux? (+3 tips)

In this article, we will explore whether amoxicillin causes acid reflux, how amoxicillin causes acid reflux, what factors influence amoxicillin-induced acid reflux and what to do if amoxicillin causes acid reflux. In addition to this, the available pharmacological treatment options will also be discussed. 

Does amoxicillin cause acid reflux?

Yes, amoxicillin can cause acid reflux. It is not a commonly reported side effect of amoxicillin. However, some individuals who are prone to gastrointestinal side effects may experience acid reflux after taking amoxicillin. Amoxicillin does show its adverse effects on the gastrointestinal tract.

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic medication commonly used to treat certain bacterial infections (1). Amoxicillin can cause nausea, diarrhoea and some other effects on the gastrointestinal tract. In some cases, an upset stomach or indigestion may contribute to this effect in the patients taking amoxicillin. 

If you are taking amoxicillin and experience acid reflux then you may consult your healthcare provider to help you manage the effect and to diagnose the exact cause of this effect.

How does amoxicillin cause acid reflux?

Amoxicillin is a well-tolerated medication but it can cause acid reflux in some individuals. Research studies have shown the potential link between amoxicillin and acid reflux.

Amoxicillin can irritate the lining of the stomach and oesophagus which may lead to gastric distress, acid reflux or heartburn. Amoxicillin can trigger this action in the stomach (2).

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic and antibiotics are found to have an effect on acid secretion in the stomach (3). Amoxicillin can potentiate the acid secretion in the stomach leading to gastric distress which may cause acid reflux as well. It can be dangerous in patients having pre-existing GERD.

Amoxicillin, being an antibiotic disrupts the balance of the gut bacteria that helps with the health of the gastrointestinal tract (4). These are a natural defence of the body against acid reflux. These bacteria help neutralize the effects of acid in the stomach. Due to the disruption of this delicate balance, you may experience aid reflux after taking amoxicillin. 

What factors influence amoxicillin-induced acid reflux?

Here are some factors that may influence amoxicillin-induced acid reflux.

Individual factors

If you have pre-existing health conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastric sensitivity or gastric ulcer etc, then you are more susceptible to getting acid reflux after taking amoxicillin.

Certain other conditions including disrupted gut microbiome or gastric sensitivity can increase the risk of a patient experiencing acid reflux after taking amoxicillin.

Some individuals might be more sensitive to the effects of amoxicillin on the gastrointestinal tract due to genetic predisposition, age and gender or physiological condition of the body. 

Medication factors

Higher doses are more commonly associated with an increased risk of acid reflux or any other side effect experienced by the patient after taking amoxicillin. In addition to higher doses, prolonged use can also play an essential role in the incidence of side effects like acid reflux. 

Concomitant medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen alongside amoxicillin can also cause the patient to experience side effects related to the gastrointestinal tract such as acid reflux (5).

Lifestyle factors

Spicy food, soft drinks, coffee, smoking and alcohol consumption can prove to be essential factors in the lifestyle that increase the risk of a patient experiencing acid reflux (6). These substances relax the oesophageal sphincter which makes it easier for the stomach acid to reflux back. 

Stress plays a crucial role in making a patient susceptible to experiencing acid reflux.

What to do if amoxicillin causes acid reflux?

If you are taking amoxicillin and experience acid reflux then you need to consult your healthcare provider.

Consulting healthcare provider

Your healthcare provider, after a thorough analysis and examination, will help you determine the exact cause of acid reflux and will tailor your treatment plan according to the requirements of your body.

Your doctor might suggest lowering your dose and modifying the duration of use of amoxicillin. The dose and duration of medication play an important role in the incidence of side effects. Your doctor may also suggest some over-the-counter medication to help manage your condition.

If by altering the dosage plan, acid reflux does not subside then your doctor may suggest an alternative treatment option to lower the incidence of side effects. 

Alternative to amoxicillin

Your doctor may recommend one of the following to provide the therapeutic effect and to lower the adverse effects.

  • Penicillin such as Omnicef or Vantin
  • Cephalosporin such as Keflex or Cefzil
  • Macrolides such as Zithromax or Biaxin
  • Cleocin
  • Vibramycin

The specific choice of antibiotic will depend upon the specific type of bacterial infection you have or the intensity of the infection.

What are pharmacological treatment options to treat amoxicillin-induced acid reflux?

Several medications can help manage the acid reflux caused by amoxicillin. The treatment options may include:

Proton-pump inhibitors PPIs

PPIs are the most potent medications available to treat acid reflux. They can treat even the most severe cases of acid reflux. They are acid suppressants and offer relief to the patients. These include (7):

  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole

H2 receptor antagonist

H2 receptor antagonists reduce the production of acid in the stomach thereby helping with acid reflux. They are good for mild symptoms. The medications in this class may include (8):

  • Ranitidine
  • Famotidine
  • Cimetidine
  • Nizatidine


Antacids neutralize the acidic effects on the stomach and provide immediate relief but they do not heal the damage caused by acid in the stomach. Some commonly used antacids include: 

  • Tums
  • Rolaids
  • Alka-seltzer
  • Maalox

How to manage amoxicillin-induced acid reflux?

Here are a few tips to help manage the condition of amoxicillin-induced acid reflux:

  • Take amoxicillin with food or milk
  • Elevate your head while sleeping
  • Avoid trigger foods such as spicy food or smoking.
  • Don’t keep your stomach empty. Take smaller, more frequent meals.
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating.
  • Use antacids to help with the acidity.

In my opinion, amoxicilin can cause acid reflux although it is not a common report. The incidence and risk largely depend upon certain other factors such as individual sensitivity, patient’s medical condition and certain concurrent medications. 

However, the acid reflux might not be observed in every patient taking amoxicillin. Some might not even expereince it. If you experience this side effect after taking amoxicillin and it interferes with your normal routine then you need to consult your healthcre provider. 





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