Meds and you

27 September 2013

Aluminium hydroxide

Aluminium hydroxide is an antacid. Antacids are drugs that neutralise stomach acid.


Aluminium hydroxide is the active ingredient of Amphojel suspension (Nappi code: 703168-029) and Amphojel suspension (Nappi code: 703-168-010).  

Aluminium hydroxide is also found in many antacid combinations.

General information

Aluminium hydroxide is an antacid. Antacids are drugs that neutralise stomach acid.

In South Africa aluminium hydroxide is registered for the treatment of hyperacidity (excessive acidity); dyspepsia (indigestion); gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach), and heartburn (a painful burning sensation in the chest caused by acid reflux).

This medicine may cause constipation and is therefore often combined with other antacids that may neutralise this effect (i.e. magnesium hydroxide in Maalox).

Aluminium hydroxide may influence the absorption of other medicines. Allow for an interval of 1 - 2 hours between taking aluminium hydroxide and other medicines.

How does aluminium hydroxide work?

Aluminium hydroxide decreases the acidity of the stomach acid by neutralising excess acid. This not only effectively reduces symptoms of heartburn and dyspepsia, but also promotes healing of gastric inflammation and ulcers.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 0

Available as: sluminium hydroxide is available as suspension.

What does it do? Aluminium hydroxide neutralises stomach acid.

Overdose risk: low

Dependence risk: low

Is aluminium hydroxide available as a generic? no

Is aluminium hydroxide available on prescription only? no

User information

Onset of effect: within 15 minutes

Duration of action: up to 4 hours

Stopping this medicine: treatment with this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: long-term use (more than 4 weeks at a time) is not advised - prolonged use of high doses may lead to weakening of bones and even fractures.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a kidney disease
  • you have a heart disease
  • you are constipated
  • you have a bone disease
  • you have porphyria
  • you have high blood pressure
  • you have appendicitis
  • you have low blood phosphate levels

Pregnancy: it is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: presumed safe

Porphyria: presumed safe

Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 6 years.

The elderly: caution is advised when this medication is taken by elderly people as side effects are more likely to occur.

Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication.

Possible side effects



Side effects Frequency   Consult your doctor  
  Common Rare Only if severe In all cases
constipation x   x  
nausea   x x  
vomiting   x x  
bone pain   x   x
fractures   x   x



Drug interactions

Aluminium hydroxide may alter the rate and extent of absorption of many other medicines. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before use if you are taking other medicines.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults, oral: 300-600 mg 5 - 6 times daily


This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only.

               Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.