What Is A GI Cocktail?

A GI cocktail is a mixture of three essential medicinal ingredients. (an antacid, liquid anesthetic, an anticholinergic)  It also is known as the gastric cocktail. When these medical products are gathered for a GI Cocktail, they help to reduce different digestive system complaints collectively such as indigestion.

There is no exact recipe for the GI cocktail. It can be obtained by mixing different ingredients belonging to the following medicinal classes. Also, each mixture can be prepared with different amounts of ingredients.

Several combinations are used, but the most effective has not yet been determined.

A gastrointestinal cocktail refers to a combination of the following three medicinal ingredients:

1. A Liquid Antacid

Antacids are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that help neutralize stomach acid. These medications help to eliminate symptoms triggered by excess stomach acids such as acid reflux, heartburn, and indigestion.

2. A Viscous Lidocaine (Anesthetic)

Lidocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as local anesthetics. It is used to stop the pain by numbing the stomach.

3. An Anticholinergic

Anticholinergic drugs are generally used to treat some gastrointestinal disorders. Especially they ease cramps in the stomach and intestines.

These drugs block acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter responsible for certain intercellular biochemical signal transmission. In this way, body functions that cause some disturbing symptoms in the digestive system are prevented.

The commonly used GI Cocktail mixture is ​​as follows:

Mylanta or Maalox (30 mL) + Xylocaine Viscous (5 mL) + Donnatal (10 mL)

What Is A GI Cocktail Used For?

gi cocktail 1

The GI cocktail is a mixture that is effective for treating dyspepsia, colloquially known as indigestion. Dyspepsia is not a disease. It is usually one of the symptoms of an illness or bad condition related to the digestive system.

It may also work for GERD, stomach ulcers from time to time.

A Gastrointestinal cocktail is generally used in a hospital or emergency room setting. It’s both diagnostic and therapeutic.

It may be given to determine whether chest pain, which can be a symptom of a serious health problem, is caused by indigestion or a heart problem. After giving the GI cocktail, the patient is monitored for 15 minutes. If the patient’s complaints decrease, it may probably be thought that the source of their problems is the stomach.

However, there’s limited research to support the effectiveness of this practice. Some case studies suggest that GI cocktails shouldn’t be used to rule out an underlying heart problem.

Does The GI Cocktail Really Work?

A GI cocktail may be effective at relieving indigestion. However, there are not many medical studies about the effectiveness of this mixture. From this point of view, we can say that there is no clear evidence that the mixture is superior to other alternatives used for treatment.

In a study with a limited number of patients with chest and abdominal pain, it was reported that the GI cocktail has a mostly positive effect on reducing complaints. But, in the previous researches, there is uncertainty about how it works alone, as this cocktail is often used in combination with other drugs.

Also, some studies have put forward a claim that the GI cocktail is not more effective than antacid contained in the GI cocktail combination.

This suggests that an antacid alone may be just as effective at relieving pain associated with indigestion, but additional studies are needed to know for sure.

What Are The Side Effects Of A GI Cocktail?

The side effects of this mixture can include the individual side effects of 3 different ingredients that build-up to its composition.

1. Side effects of antacids (Mylanta or Maalox)

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea or Vomiting

2. Side effects of viscous lidocaine (Xylocaine Viscous)

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritation or Swelling
  • Nausea

3. Side effects of anticholinergics (Donnatal)

  • Bloating
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Reduced Sweating or Urination
  • Sensitivity to Light

Warning: Never try to prepare or drink this gastrointestinal cocktail on your own without consulting a doctor.

What Causes Indigestion?

1.  Acid Reflux

Acid reflux happens when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. It often causes burning pain, also known as heartburn. Also, acid reflux is also known as acid indigestion.

2. Ulcer

Stomach ulcers are painful sores in the stomach lining. An ulcer occurs when the mucus layer that protects your stomach from digestive acid is weakened.

3. Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the protective lining of the stomach. The most common symptoms of this stomach disease are nausea, indigestion, vomiting.

4. Other Factors

Apart from digestive system disorders, the following factors may also cause indigestion:

  • Prescription Or Over-The-Counter Medicines
  • Nutrition
  • Bad Habits (Smoking)
  • Lifestyle (Sleep Routine, Stress)

What Are The Signs Of Indigestion?

Indigestion symptom differs from person to person. While some people experience this problem continuously, others complain from time to time. But it usually occurs after eating.

Everyone experiences indigestion from time to time. However,  signs of indigestion are not the same for everyone.

Common symptoms of indigestion are:

  • Abdominal Discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Burping
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation Or Diarrhea
  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Nausea

Home Remedies For Indigestion

GI cocktail or other digestive system drugs should be an option only if it is very necessary for the treatment of indigestion. It is possible to overcome your complaints with simple methods that you can apply at home.

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Eat slowly
  • Don’t lie down after you eat.
  • Avoid foods that are deep-fried, spicy, or greasy
  • Don’t drink excessive coffee, soda, and alcohol
  • Consider the medications you take
  • Get enough sleep
  • Try herbal teas such as chamomile tea
  • Eliminate stress
  • Do exercise