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What are the Medical Uses of Magnesium Salicylate?

By Thomma Grindstaff
Updated May 17, 2024
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Magnesium salicylate, an analgesic or pain reliever, is often used to treat the discomfort of arthritis. Classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), the medication is also employed in the treatment of muscle pain, especially lower-back pain. Widely available as an over-the-counter medication, it can be an effective alternative to prescription NSAIDs.

A patient taking magnesium salicylate may experience rapid relief from swelling and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and juvenile arthritis. The medication works by lowering the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals implicated in the symptoms of pain and fever. Salicylates obstruct the enzyme in the body that produces prostaglandins, leading to relief of uncomfortable symptoms. Magnesium salicylate also helps relieve headaches and the pain of bursitis, tendinitis and soft tissue injuries.

Some people suffer from chronic lower back pain, which keeps them awake at night. These patients sometimes use magnesium salicylate in combination with diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine. The diphenhydramine causes drowsiness, so its efficacy as a sleep aid works with the pain-relieving properties of the magnesium salicylate to help provide a good night's rest with lessened pain.

There are two kinds of salicylates, acetylated and nonacetylated, which are both derived from salicylic acid. Magnesium salicylate is non-acetylated, meaning that it is less likely than an acetylated salicylate like aspirin to cause problems with bleeding. Like any NSAID, however, magnesium salicylate can carry with it an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Anyone who wants to take this medication should consult a medical professional, particularly if he or she has a history of heart, liver or kidney disease.

The medication should be taken with a full glass of water. If a patient is prone to experiencing stomach upset from NSAIDs, the medication may be taken with milk, with food or with an antacid. If the magnesium salicylate has been prescribed by a doctor, it should be taken exactly as directed. The over-the-counter version of the medication should be taken exactly as indicated on the label. The lowest effective dose should be used.

Patients who experience adverse effects from this medication, including severe allergic reactions, should get immediate help from their doctors. Symptoms of allergic reaction include swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing and hives. Serious side effects of magnesium salicylate may include chest pain, black or bloody stools, and severe stomach pain. Among the more common and less serious side effects are upset stomach and heartburn.

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