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On-line Magnesium Hydroxide

Brand Name(s): Milk of Magnesia, Milk of Magnesia-Concentrated, Phillips Milk of Magnesia

Generic Name Magnesium Hydroxide

What is magnesium hydroxide suspension?

MAGNESIUM HYDROXIDE (Phillip's® Milk of Magnesia, Ex-Lax® Milk of Magnesia, and others) is a laxative used to temporarily relieve occasional constipation. It is sometimes used to help relieve symptoms of indigestion or heartburn. Generic magnesium hydroxide suspension is available.

What should my health care professional know before I take magnesium hydroxide?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • colostomy
  • dehydration
  • diarrhea
  • intestinal problems like colitis
  • kidney disease
  • stomach bleeding or obstruction
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to magnesium , foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take magnesium hydroxide suspension by mouth. Follow the directions on the label. Shake liquid well before using. After taking the medication, drink a full glass of water. If used as a laxative, magnesium hydroxide works best if taken before bedtime or in the morning. If used as an antacid it is usually taken after meals and at bedtime, or as directed by your prescriber. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

Magnesium hydroxide is only taken when needed for constipation or stomach upset. It is usually not recommended for continued use. Missing a dose is usually not harmful. Do not take double or extra doses because this may cause too harsh of a laxative effect.

What drug(s) may interact with magnesium hydroxide?

  • acetaminophen
  • alendronate
  • antibiotics
  • aspirin and aspirin-like medicines
  • captopril
  • delavirdine
  • etidronate
  • gabapentin
  • heart medicines, such as digoxin
  • iron salts
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
  • medicines for movement abnormalities as in Parkinson's disease, or for gastrointestinal problems
  • medicines for stomach ulcers and stomach problems
  • misoprostol
  • mycophenolate
  • other magnesium-containing antacids, laxatives or supplements
  • pancrelipase
  • penicillamine
  • phenytoin
  • quinidine
  • risedronate
  • rosuvastatin
  • sodium fluoride
  • sodium polystyrene sulfonate
  • sotalol
  • sucralfate
  • tiludronate
  • valproic acid
  • vitamin D

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking magnesium hydroxide?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • confusion, decreased alertness
  • drowsiness or dizziness
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • weakness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • chalky taste
  • diarrhea
  • stomach cramps

What should I watch for while taking magnesium hydroxide?

Check with your prescriber or health care professional if magnesium hydroxide does not relieve your constipation or upset stomach; if you get black tarry stools; notice any rectal bleeding; or feel unusually tired.

Do not treat yourself for constipation or stomach problems with magnesium hydroxide for more than 2 weeks without consulting your prescriber or health care professional.

If you are taking other medications, leave an interval of at least 2 hours before or after dosing with magnesium hydroxide. If you are taking prescription medications check with a healthcare professional before taking magnesium hydroxide.

Drink several glasses of water a day. This will help to relieve constipation and prevent dehydration.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F), do not freeze. Protect from light and moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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