All liquid Maalox products are not the same. Maalox Total Relief, Maalox Advanced Regular Strength, and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strength may look similar but they are not interchangeable. In fact, using the wrong one could be harmful.
FDA has received several reports where people mistakenly took Maalox Total Relief instead of Maalox Advanced in regular or maximum strength. The Maalox Advanced products contain antacid ingredients to relieve conditions such as acid indigestion, heartburn and sour stomach. Maalox Total Relief is an upset stomach reliever and anti-diarrheal medication.
Maalox Total Relief contains bismuth subsalicylate, which is chemically related to aspirin, so it can have similar side effects. That means people who should avoid aspirin products should not take Maalox Total Relief, including those with a history of ulcers or bleeding disorders, as well as children and teens recovering from a viral infection.
The maker of Maalox brand products has agreed to change the name of Maalox Total Relief to one that does not include the word “Maalox”. The company is also changing the drug’s packaging to avoid further confusion.
Until that happens, people should check the “Drug Facts” box on Maalox labels to be sure they are picking the right product for their condition.