Maalox is an antacid that contains the same active ingredients as Mylanta, according to WebMD. The active ingredients in both medications are aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, making them equivalent in efficacy. While over-the-counter antacids such as Maalox are appropriate for heartburn that occurs infrequently, people who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, may need prescription heartburn medication suited to frequent and severe heartburn, notes Consumer Reports.
Antacids such as Maalox work by neutralizing stomach acid, states WebMD. Some over-the-counter antacids also contain an ingredient to help prevent acid from rising into the esophagus. Prescription proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium and Prilosec are more effective at handling severe and frequent heartburn but can take weeks to work and have severe side effects, according to Consumer Reports. Because these stronger prescription medications are associated with the diseases pneumonia and C. difficile, and with vitamin deficiencies and bone fractures, they should only be taken if necessary, states Consumer Reports.
Most heartburn sufferers should use over-the-counter medications suvh as Maalox, recommends Consumer Reports. Maalox and other over-the-counter heartburn drugs work much more quickly than Nexium and Prilosec and do not have to be taken on a daily basis, but can be administered when symptoms strike. Maalox and similar medicines have few side effects, and they are usually mild, according to WebMD.