FDA Warns About Maalox Mixups

Think that Maalox Total Relief is the same as the traditional Maalox liquids?

It isn’t, and the FDA wants you to know that.

Although both are available over the counter, they are intended to treat different medical conditions.  Maalox Total Relief contains bismuth subsalicylate, which is related to aspirin and can cause bleeding and other serious side effects.

Maalox Total Relief treats upset stomach and diarrhea, while liquid Maalox Maalox Advanced Regular Strength and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strength are antacids for conditions such as heartburn.

People with bleeding disorders or gastrointestinal ulcers should not use Maalox Total Relief, nor should patients taking certain medicines that interact with aspirin including oral antidiabetic drugs, blood thinning drugs (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Maalox Total Relief  shouldn’t be given to children or teens with fever, flu, or chicken pox since salicylates can sometimes cause Reyes Syndrome, a potentially fatal condition, in children and teens with viral infections.

The FDA tells consumers to:

  • Check with their health care professional if they have any question about which Maalox product is right for them.
  • Look carefully at the label to be sure that they are buying the right Maalox product.
  • Read the active ingredients and any drug warnings in the “Drug Facts” box before purchasing any Maalox product.
  • Report any serious side effects from using a Maalox product to the FDA Medwatch Program. FDA Medwatch can be reached at 1-800-332-1088.

Cancer patients should always discuss any medicine or dietary supplement with their doctor before taking it to be sure that it is safe and will not interfere with cancer treatment.


  1. says

    The response to my question does not include Maximum ReMaalox Total Relief. I just want to know when will the regular maalox (chewables and liquid) will be available in local drug stores and the big retail discount stores, Wal Mart, K-Mart, etc.

    • Kate Murphy says

      We don’t know.

      Last December, 2011 Novartis shut down their manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska where regular Maalox is manufactured. They expected at that time that there would be shortages on the shelves.

      So far we have had no more information about more shipments. Maalox was not recalled because of a problem with it or its labeling, so if you can find it anywhere, you can probably use it safely.

      It appears that Amazon.com may have some liquids and chewables. You should check to see if what you need is available there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>