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milk of magnesia (phillips' chewable, phillips' milk of magnesia)

available over the counter: yes

uses: to treat symptoms of upset stomach; short term treatment of constipation

mechanism of action: as an antacid, neutralized stomach acid; as a laxative, attracts and retains water in the intestine, increases intestinal movement, stimulating the urge to defacate

side effects
• common: nausea, diarrhea
• less common: increased thirst, whitish color to stools, abdominal cramps
• serious: dizziness, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue

concerns: do not take for more than two  weeks, unless your doctor advises; overuse may cause dependence; produces watery stools in 3 to 6 hours, therefore plan sleep or other activities accordingly; do not take within 2 hours of other medications


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