Phillips Milk of Magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) is a saline-based, over-the-counter hyperosmotic laxative that induces bowel movements by drawing water into the large intestine. Saline hyperosmotic laxatives are used for rapid emptying of the lower intestine and bowel. It is also used as an antacid to relieve indigestion, sour stomach, and heartburn.
Phillips Milk of Magnesia comes in a chewable tablet and a liquid version that must be shaken before being dose-measured using a spoon. The medicine should not be used for long-term management of constipation.
Common side effects are drowsiness and flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling). Diarrhea is the most common side effect.
Constipation is the most common symptom of bowel dysfunction in people with MS. The disease can interrupt brain communications that signal time for a bowel movement. Managing constipation should include a high-fiber diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals. High-fluid intake should include six to eight glasses of water daily. Patients should try to maintain an active lifestyle and establish a bowel schedule. A range of laxatives are available. Most are sold over-the-counter.
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