What Does Milk of Magnesia Do?

Reviewed on 1/20/2021

Milk of magnesia or Philip's milk of magnesia is mainly taken as an antacid or a laxative.
Milk of magnesia or Philip’s milk of magnesia is mainly taken as an antacid or a laxative.

Milk of magnesia or Philip’s milk of magnesia is mainly taken as an antacid or a laxative.

Table. The physical and chemical properties of milk of magnesia

Chemical name

Mg(OH)2

Appearance

Milky white

Natural mineral present

Magnesium

Available as

Suspension, chewable tablet

The onset of action

30 minutes to 6 hours (as laxatives)

What does the milk of magnesia do?

Milk of magnesia is used as an antacid or a laxative. Milk of magnesia is alkaline, which means that it would neutralize any acidic substance encountered. Hence, it is an excellent antacid. It neutralizes excess stomach acid or hydrochloric acid. The hydroxide ions of the milk combine with the hydrogen ions in the stomach acid to reduce excess acidity in the stomach.

The magnesium ions in the milk of magnesia withdraw water from the surrounding tissues via osmosis. The extra water pooled in the intestines softens and bulks up the feces that, in turn, stimulates its nerves. The magnesium ions increase the water and electrolyte content in the intestine, resulting in intestinal motility.

How should you take milk of magnesia?

Milk of magnesia is usually taken as a single daily dose, preferably at bedtime. It should be taken by oral route only. Follow the instructions mentioned in the package and take milk of magnesia just as directed. Do not take more or less than prescribed.

Be cautious while giving milk of magnesia to children. Carefully read all the instructions to ensure that you are giving the right product for your child.

Some of the instructions to follow while taking milk of magnesia include:

  • Take milk of magnesia with a glass full of water
  • Avoid taking milk of magnesia continuously for a week
  • Shake the oral suspension well before use
  • Take other medicines 2 hours before or after taking milk of magnesia
  • After using, store them at room temperature away from heat and moisture

What are some of the brand names of milk of magnesia?

Some of the common brands of milk of magnesia available in the United States include:

QUESTION

What percentage of the human body is water? See Answer

Who should not take milk of magnesia?

People with the following conditions should not take milk of magnesia:

What are the side effects of milk of magnesia?

Milk of magnesia may cause some unwanted side effects, which include:

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References
Medscape. Magnesium Hydroxide (OTC). https://reference.medscape.com/drug/milk-of-magnesia-magnesium-hydroxide-342018#4

Milk of Magnesia. http://web.mit.edu/piuska/Public/Ekaterinburg%20more/Ekaterinburg%20research/Milk%20of%20Magnesia.pdf

Medline Plus. Magnesium Hydroxide. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601073.html

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