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Quite simply, a pile of tums.jpg
Product typeAntacid
CountryUnited States
Previous ownersLewis-Howe Company
Norcliff Thayer (Revlon)
Beecham Group
SmithKline Beecham

Tums is an antacid made of sucrose (sugar) and calcium carbonate (CaCO3) manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline in St. Louis, Missouri, US. They are also available in a sugar-free version. It is an over-the-counter drug, available at many retail stores, including drug stores, grocery stores and mass merchandisers. It provides relief from heartburn and indigestion ("sour stomach").


In 1928, James Harvey "Jim" Howe (born 1873 College Corner, OH & died 1960 Webster Groves, MO), pharmacist in St. Louis, Missouri, developed Tums in the basement of his home while treating his wife's indigestion. The remedy caught on, and commercial production began in 1930 by the Lewis-Howe Company, which took its name from Howe and his uncle, A. H. Lewis, who was a pharmacist in Bolivar, Missouri; Howe worked in his uncle's drugstore as a teenager.

Upper part of beige and brick red manufacturing plant buildings
Tums plant in St. Louis (2018)

In 1978 the company was purchased by Revlon of New York, making it no longer a St. Louis-based company. Revlon's Norcliff Thayer unit oversaw the Tums brand. Revlon spun Norcliff Thayer off to Beecham Group in 1986, and Beecham eventually became GlaxoSmithKline through a series of mergers.

Since 1930, a plant originally built by Lewis-Howe in downtown St. Louis has been making the antacid tablets. The factory complex remains the main manufacturing site for Tums, and GlaxoSmithKline recently completed millions of dollars' worth of renovations and modernizations.[1][2]

Medical uses[edit]

Since Tums is an over-the-counter drug, it is not considered a pharmaceutical-grade treatment (does not require a prescription). Prescription strength acid reflux medications often contain Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) or histamine2 receptor blocker (H2 blockers) / H2 antagonist.[3]


Famous advertising campaigns for Tums have included "Tums for the Tummy" and, much later for television, "Mother Tums" ("There, there!") and by a barbershop jingle sung to the theme music used in all versions of the TV crime drama series Dragnet.[4]


Tums comes in chewable tablets that are taken orally. It is also available in different flavors such as peppermint and fruit flavors such as berries, orange, and cherry.[5]


  1. ^ Brown, Lisa (September 5, 2010). "Tums still rolling after 80 years". www.stltoday.com. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  2. ^ Latzke, Jeff (January 1, 2004). "Tums give 75 years of relief". www.enquirer.com. The Cincinnati Enquirer via Associated Press. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  3. ^ What are the effects of long-term use of acid reflux medications? Rabin, Roni. "Taking Heartburn Drugs Long-Term". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  4. ^ Brunsdale, Mitzi (2010-07-26). Icons of Mystery and Crime Detection. ABC-CLIO. p. 250. ISBN 9780313345302. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
  5. ^ "TUMS ULTRA- calcium carbonate tablet, chewable". nih.gov. National Library of Medicine at NIH. December 12, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2020.

External links[edit]