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Maalox: antacid treatment for indigestion

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Maalox is a widely used antacid medication specifically formulated to address the discomfort of indigestion. This oral suspension is readily available without the need for a prescription, making it accessible for individuals aged twelve and above. The active antacid components in Maalox consist of aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide.

For individuals seeking enhanced relief, Maalox Plus offers a similar product with the addition of simethicone. This oral suspension combines the effectiveness of aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, and simethicone to alleviate symptoms related to trapped gas.

Doctor’s advice

How does Maalox work?

Indigestion often arises from excessive acid production in the stomach, which can lead to irritation of the stomach lining. Typical symptoms include bloating, belching, trapped gas, flatulence, nausea, upper abdominal pain and discomfort, and heartburn. These symptoms tend to occur after eating or drinking, with increased prevalence at night, especially regarding heartburn. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid flows back up the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest. Maalox's antacids work by neutralizing stomach acid, providing relief from indigestion.

Simethicone, an integral component of Maalox Plus, contributes to relieving the discomfort associated with trapped gas. Functioning as an anti-foaming agent, simethicone disperses trapped air bubbles, offering further relief.

How do I take the medication?

To optimize the benefits of Maalox, it is important to follow the recommended dosage instructions. Whether aiming to alleviate indigestion or prevent its occurrence, taking Maalox after meals and before bedtime is recommended. Each dose typically consists of two to four teaspoonfuls (5 mL), and it is essential to shake the bottle before usage for even dispersion of the medication.

Who should avoid Maalox?

While using Maalox, it is advisable to avoid alcohol consumption as it can exacerbate symptoms. Importantly, Maalox is intended for short-term use. If you experience persistent indigestion symptoms lasting more than two weeks, consulting your doctor is recommended.

Certain individuals should refrain from taking Maalox. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, it is crucial to avoid this medication. Furthermore, Maalox is not suitable for children under the age of twelve. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have kidney problems, severe stomach pain, or bowel obstruction, it is essential to consult your doctor before initiating Maalox treatment.

Maalox can interact with other medications, including specific antibiotics such as tetracyclines and quinolones. If you are currently taking prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal medicines, it is advisable to seek guidance from your doctor or pharmacist to ensure the compatibility of Maalox with your existing medication regimen. They may recommend adjusting the timing of your usual medications in relation to Maalox.

Does Maalox have any side effects?

In terms of side effects, Maalox generally has a low likelihood of causing adverse reactions. However, some individuals may experience occasional side effects such as constipation or diarrhea. Magnesium hydroxide may lead to diarrhea, while aluminum hydroxide can cause constipation. To counteract these effects, these two components are combined in Maalox. Nevertheless, it is important to note that this counteraction may not always be effective. If any side effects become bothersome, it is advisable to consult your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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