WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to mistake Maalox Total Relief for other Maalox products. The two products are intended for the relief of different symptoms, contain different ingredients and can cause serious side effects if taken for wrong reason.
Maalox Total Relief is designed to relieve upset stomachs and diarrhea. Traditional Maalox products, such as Maalox Advanced Regular Strength and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strength are antacids. All are available over the counter.
"The two types of products are not interchangeable," said Carol Holquist, the director of the FDA's Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis Department.
The main ingredient in Maalox Total Relief is similar to aspirin and may cause bleeding. It is not recommended for people who may have a history of ulcers or a bleeding disorder.
Teens and children who are recovering from a viral infection, individuals taking blood thinners such as Coumadin or Plavix, or anti-inflammatory drugs should also not take Maalox Total Relief.
Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the company that manufactures the products has agreed to change the packaging for Maalox Total Relief in order to avoid further confusion.
Any side effects related to the use of Maalox Total Relief should be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program at www.fda.gov/MedWatch or by calling (800) 332-1088.