Self-medication with antacids is very common in patients with less severe forms of dyspepsia, but we know very little about the users of antacids and their incentive to take them. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between self-reported use of antacids and health-related variables, lifestyle, and sociodemographic characteristics in order to characterize the use of antacids in a general population. The use of antacids was assessed by a questionnaire answered by men and women aged 20-62 years (n = 15,986; response rate 75.9%). Logistic regression analysis was used to quantify the relationships between the use of antacids and health-related variables, lifestyle, and sociodemographic characteristics. Approximately 10% of the population had used antacids during the preceding 14 days. There was no overall gender difference. Among those who had no dyspeptic symptoms, 1.5% reported use of antacids, whereas among those who had all three dyspeptic symptoms (heartburn, epigastric pain, peptic ulcer), 46.5% had used antacids. Heartburn was the most important predictor for antacid use in both men (odds ratio [OR] = 8.57 [6.65-11.04]) and women (OR = 9.35 [7.16-12.221) followed by self-reported epigastric pain and peptic ulcer (both: OR = approximately 2). The importance of these self-reported health conditions remained unchanged after adjusting for lifestyle and sociodemographic variables. There were fewer antacid users among unmarried women than married women, and coffee-drinking was inversely associated with antacid use. These findings were consistent in both bivariate and multivariate analysis. The present study provides population-based information showing that self-medication with antacids in Norway appeared to be appropriate. Because dyspeptic symptoms play a major role in the consumption of antacids, this study shows the importance of including information about specific clinical variables in the analysis and interpretation of patterns of drug use.