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Understanding GI Cocktails – What You Need to Know

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GI Cocktails – You can drink a combination of drugs known as a gastrointestinal (GI) cocktail to help reduce the symptoms of indigestion. Another name for it is a gastric cocktail.

But just what goes into this gastric concoction, and does it function? In this article, we will look at the components of a GI cocktail, as well as its effectiveness and any potential side effects.

What is a Gi cocktail?

What is a Gi cocktail

For symptoms of dyspepsia, commonly known as ingestion, the Emergency Department (ED) frequently administers a combination of drugs called a GI cocktail.

Since numerous drugs might remain used to create them, GI cocktails don’t have a set list of required components. However, these components are typically included in them:

Gi cocktail ingredients

Gi cocktail ingredients

However, they generally have the following ingredients:

  • Viscous (liquid) lidocaine
  • An antacid
  • An anticholinergic

While the antacid neutralises stomach acid to reduce indigestion and heartburn, the viscous lidocaine acts as an anaesthetic to ease discomfort.

An anticholinergic is added to address nausea, vomiting, and other digestive-related symptoms. It can also ease the stomach, intestinal, and bladder spasms and cramps. It can help treat peptic or stomach ulcers when combined with antacids.

Gi cocktail side effects

Gi cocktail side effects

Drinking a GI cocktail does carry a danger of side effects for each ingredient used in the mix.

Antacid side effects (from Mylanta or Maalox) could include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • nausea or diarrhoea

The following are potential adverse effects of viscous lidocaine (Xylocaine Viscous):

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritation or swelling
  • Nausea
  • Possible side effects of anticholinergics (Donnatal) include:
  • Bloating
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Reduced sweating or urination
  • Sensitivity to light

Gi cocktail dose

Gi cocktail dose

This diagram helps to explain what the GI cocktail elements are, why they’re used, and the estimated dose of each ingredient:

    Ingredient              Typical

  1. Liquid antacid 30 mL
  2. Anaesthetic 5 mL
  3. Anticholinergic 10 mL

Home treatments for easing indigestion

Indigestion can remain treated without medication as well. Lifestyle changes can also aid in symptom prevention or reduction.

The following self-care practises some methods you might be able to reduce or soothe your indigestion:

  • If you smoke, get assistance quitting.
  • Consume food in smaller amounts more frequently.
  • Snack more slowly.
  • Avoid lying down right after eating.
  • Steer clear of oily, spicy, or deep-fried foods because they are more likely to cause indigestion.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol, soda, and coffee.
  • Ask your pharmacist whether you’re using any over-the-counter pain relievers or other medications known to cause stomach irritation.
  • Get adequate rest.
  • Try calming natural remedies like ginger, lemon water, chamomile, or peppermint teas.
  • Make an effort to lessen the sources of stress in your life and schedule some downtime for relaxation activities like yoga, exercise, and meditation.

A little indigestion is typical. But it would help if you didn’t disregard severe or persistent symptoms.

If you develop chest pain, unexplained weight loss, or severe vomiting, you must immediately consult a doctor.

Gi cocktail over the counter

Gi cocktail over the counter

Other medical treatment options

Other medications can treat dyspepsia in addition to these. Many are accessible without a prescription from a physician.

With the aid of a healthcare professional, you can assess which choice is best for your specific symptoms. There are a few possibilities:

H2 receptor blockers. These drugs, including Pepcid, are widely used to treat conditions that lead to excessive stomach acid production.

Prokinetics. Acid reflux can stay lessened by prokinetic medications like Reglan and Motilium that strengthen a muscle in the lower oesophagus. These medicines need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Proton pump blockers (PPIs). Prevacid, Prilosec, and Nexium are proton pump inhibitors preventing stomach acid generation. They are more effective than drugs that block H2 receptors. Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription options are available for these kinds of medicines.

Does GI Cocktails Work?

  • Although GI cocktails are frequently used to treat indigestion, there is currently no conclusive evidence to support their superior efficacy.
  • Some studies show that GI cocktails are slightly more effective than regular antacids.
  • A 2003 study examined three different GI cocktails frequently prescribed for indigestion. The following treatments were administered to each of the three groups of 120 indigestion patients:
  • An antacid
  • An antacid and Donnatal (phenobarbital-hyoscyamine-atropine-scopolamine), which is an anticholinergic
  • An antacid, Donnatal, and viscous lidocaine

Before and during their medicine administration, each patient rated their level of discomfort. After the three groups had taken the drugs, it was discovered that there had been no discernible difference between them. That implies that these two popular GI mixtures were just as effective as regular antacids.

It is also challenging to assess the efficacy of GI combos because the relief you experience after taking one may be the result of other medications you may be taking simultaneously.


An antacid, viscous lidocaine, and an anticholinergic medication called Donnatal to make up a GI cocktail. It is used in hospitals and emergency rooms to treat dyspepsia and related symptoms.

The effectiveness of a GI cocktail compared to an antacid alone in treating the symptoms of indigestion is currently unknown.