Milk of Magnesia

You're reading Milk of Magnesia, posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 at 2:46 am in Medicine, on BrainBloggers at the Stay Healthy blog. More after the jump.

Milk of magnesia is a liquid used in medicinal treatment as an antacid and a hydrating laxative. Also referred to as magnesium hydroxide or Mg(OH)2, the solution is consumed orally. It is so called because it looks milky white and is made up of the naturally occurring mineral magnesium. The substance acts to work within six hours of a dose in adults and children to temporarily relieve occasional bouts of constipation.

How should Milk of Magnesia be taken?

Take magnesium hydroxide exactly as instructed by your doctor or as directed on the package. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
Take the tablets and capsules with a full glass of water.
Chew the chewable tablets thoroughly before swallowing them.
Shake the mixture well before measuring a dose. To ensure that you get the precise dose, measure the liquid form of magnesium with a dose-measuring spoon or cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist where you can get one. Do not use magnesium hydroxide as a laxative if you have stomach (abdominal) pain, nausea, or vomiting, unless directed by a doctor. If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that continues over a period of 2 weeks, consult your healthcare provider before using a laxative. Magnesium hydroxide should not be used for longer than one week, unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider.
Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use of a laxative may be evidence of a more serious condition; stop using magnesium hydroxide and consult your healthcare provider. Do not take more magnesium hydroxide than is directed. Keep magnesium hydroxide at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What should I do if I accidentally overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.
Reactions of a magnesium hydroxide overdose include:
Nausea
Vomiting
Flushing
Low blood pressure
A slow heartbeat
Drowsiness
Coma and Death

What should I do if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But, if it is almost time for the next dose, disregard the dose you missed and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.
Are there any side effects of Milk of Magnesia?
Discontinue taking magnesium hydroxide and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives).
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take magnesium hydroxide and talk to your doctor if you experience diarrhea or an upset stomach.
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your physician about any side effect that seems irregular or that is especially bothersome.