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Aluminum hydroxide gel, also known as amphojel, is an antacid medication. Amphojel decreases excess levels of acid in the stomach, thereby reducing symptoms like acid indigestion and heartburn. The medication is also useful in mitigating symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stomach ulcers. Though aluminum hydroxide lowers the amount of acid in the stomach, it does not stop its production. Like other antacid medications, aluminum hydroxide works better in liquid suspension than it does in tablet or capsule form.
Patients should follow usage directions on the medication's label or use it precisely as directed by their doctors. Amphojel should be taken between meals and right before bedtime. Before each dose, the bottle should be shaken vigorously to ensure that the medicine is well-mixed. Aluminum hydroxide's flavor can be improved through refrigeration, but the suspension must not be frozen.
Since amphojel contains aluminum, it might react with supplements such as iron. Aluminum hydroxide can react with certain antibiotics and keep the body from fully absorbing them. Patients who take iron supplements or who take antibiotics should talk to their doctors before using aluminum hydroxide gel.
One of the main side effects associated with aluminum hydroxide gel is constipation. Patients can minimize constipation by drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient exercise. Severe constipation is usually not a concern with amphojel, but if constipation worsens, patients are advised to see their doctors immediately because the condition could lead to bowel obstruction.
Antacids that contain aluminum can lower phosphate levels in the body, especially if they're used over a long period of time. Aluminum binds to phosphate and keeps it from being properly absorbed by the body. Long-term users of amphojel should talk to their doctors if they notice symptoms of low phosphate, including fatigue, muscle weakness and loss of appetite.
Serious side effects of aluminum hydroxide gel are rare. They may include stomach pain, black stools and vomit that resembles coffee grounds. If a patient has a severe allergic reaction to antacid gel, they may experience hives, swelling of the face and difficulty breathing. If any of these symptoms occur, patients should seek medical attention immediately.
Patients who drink alcohol to excess or who suffer from kidney problems or dehydration should talk to their doctors before taking aluminum hydroxide gel. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should also discuss with their physician the benefits and risks of taking amphojel before doing so. The medication has been found in the breast milk of lactating women.
My husband uses aluminum hydroxide gel to alleviate his heartburn. He had been experiencing painful reflux after every meal, and other antacids were not helping at all. He tried liquid amphojel and got almost immediate relief.
He did hate the taste of it at first. We started refrigerating it to lessen the power of its flavor, and now he can tolerate it.
When he got a throat infection and went on antibiotics, he had to stop taking the amphojel for awhile. During this time, his heartburn returned, but he just had to endure it until he got off the antibiotics.