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Drugs & Medications

aluminum hydroxide gel

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Alternagel, Amphojel

GENERIC NAME(S): ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE

Uses

This medication is used to treat the symptoms of too much stomach acid such as stomach upset, heartburn, and acid indigestion. Aluminum hydroxide is an antacid that works quickly to lower the acid in the stomach. Liquid antacids usually work faster/better than tablets or capsules.

This medication works only on existing acid in the stomach. It does not prevent acid production. It may be used alone or with other medications that lower acid production (e.g., H2 blockers such as cimetidine/ranitidine and proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole).

OTHER USES: This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.

Aluminum hydroxide is also used to lower phosphate levels in certain kidney conditions (usually in capsule form).

How to use aluminum hydroxide gel

Take this medication by mouth between meals and at bedtime. Follow all the directions on the product package or use as directed by your doctor. If you are uncertain about any of this information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Shake the bottle well before each dose. Refrigerating the suspension may improve the flavor. Do not freeze. This medication works best if taken without other fluids. You can mix your dose with a little water if needed.

This product contains aluminum, which may react with other medications (including digoxin, iron, tetracycline antibiotics, pazopanib, quinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin), preventing them from being fully absorbed by your body. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about how to schedule your medications to prevent this problem.

If your acid problems persist or worsen after you have used this product for 1 week, or if you think you have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention. If you are using this medication regularly on a daily basis for more than 2 weeks, you may have a medical problem that needs different treatment. Ask your doctor if this is the right medication for you.

Side Effects

Constipation may occur. This could lead to other problems such as hemorrhoids and bowel obstruction. If constipation persists or worsens, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

To minimize constipation, drink plenty of fluids and exercise. Using an antacid that contains magnesium along with this product can help prevent constipation. Stool softeners may also be helpful. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other antacids, stool softeners and laxatives.

Aluminum-containing antacids bind to phosphate, an important body chemical, in the gut. This can cause low phosphate levels if your kidneys are normal, especially if you use large doses for a long time. Tell your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms of low phosphate: loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, muscle weakness.

Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects or symptoms of a serious medical problem occur: black/tarry stools, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, deep sleep), pain with urination, stomach/abdominal pain, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before taking aluminum hydroxide, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: frequent alcohol use, severe loss of body water (dehydration/fluid restriction), problems with constipation, kidney problems (including kidney stones).

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This medication may pass into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

See also How to Use section.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Antacids can interfere with the absorption of many other drugs. Be sure to check with your pharmacist before taking antacids with any other medication.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments.

Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, stopping smoking, limiting alcohol, and diet changes (e.g., avoiding caffeine, fatty foods, certain spices) may increase the effectiveness of this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.

Missed Dose

If you are taking this product on a regular schedule and miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage

Refer to storage information printed on the package. Protect from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Keep all drug products away from children and pets. This product may be stored in the refrigerator to improve taste. Do not freeze.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Information last revised July 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.

Images

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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, expect as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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