The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just issued a warning to consumers about the potential for <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">serious side effects resulting from mistakenly using Maalox Total Relief instead of other Maalox products. Both products are intended for the relief of different symptoms and contain different active ingredients.
Maalox Total Relief is an upset stomach reliever and anti-diarrheal medication; traditional Maalox liquid productsâ€”Maalox Advanced Regular Strength and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strengthâ€”are antacids. Both Maalox Total Relief and Maalox are made by Novartis Consumer Health Inc. (NCH) and are available without a prescription as over-the-counter liquid medications.
As a result of the mix-up, the maker of Maalox brand products has agreed to change the name of Maalox Total Relief to one that does not include the word â€œMaaloxâ€ and will also change the drugâ€™s packaging to avoid further confusion.
â€œMaalox Total Relief and Maalox are not interchangeable and shouldnâ€™t be used in place of each other,â€ said Carol Holquist, R.Ph., director of FDAâ€™s Division of Medication Error Prevention and Analysis. â€œConsumer confusion and incorrect product use due to name confusion are serious public health issues. We appreciate Novartisâ€™ efforts to work collaboratively with FDA and their decision to remedy this situation to avoid any confusion over Maalox products in the future,â€ she added.
Maalox Total Reliefâ€™s active ingredient (bismuth subsalicylate) is chemically related to aspirin and may cause similar harmful side effects such as bleeding. As such, Maalox Total Relief is not appropriate for individuals with a history of gastrointestinal ulcer disease or a bleeding disorder. Maalox Total Relief also should not be taken by children and teens if they are recovering from a viral infection, nor by individuals who are taking certain medications including: Oral antidiabetic drugs (OADs), anticoagulation (thinning the blood) drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin) and clopidogrel (Plavix), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Packaging and labeling of Maalox Total Relief and traditional Maalox Advanced Regular Strength and Maalox Advanced Maximum Strength are very similar and easily confused. Due to this confusion, NCH has agreed to:
Change the name of Maalox Total Relief to one that does not include the root name Maalox, as well as to change the product label design;
Conduct an educational campaign with outreach to healthcare professionals and consumers regarding different Maalox products and ways to select the appropriate Maalox brand product; and,
Actively monitor and report adverse events associated with the use of Maalox brand products.
â€œThe FDA is concerned about the public health impact of medication mix-ups for products that have the same names or portions of the same name, but contain different active ingredients,â€ said Ms. Holquist. â€œWe want companies to consider the potential for name confusion when choosing names for their drugs.â€
The renamed product is expected to begin selling in September 2010. Until that time, FDA is advising consumers and healthcare professionals to carefully check the labels of all Maalox products to ensure the appropriate product is being selected for the patientâ€™s symptoms.