Although it’s not something that many people are inclined to talk about with any kind of regularity, constipation is something that affects numerous Americans. Many times, a person suffering from the condition will reach for some type of laxative to help them out. However, the Food and Drug Administration is concerned that some persons could be susceptible to fairly dangerous side effects associated with these products.
The agency has released a new consumer health update that outlines the risk, and it’s important for anyone considering the usage of a laxative to check it out.
In the spotlight is a type of laxative that uses sodium phosphate as a chief ingredient. These laxatives fall in the saline family, meaning that they work to soften the stool by bringing more water into a person’s bowel. This product comes in various generic and store brand forms, but they can also carry the Fleet name.
Even if taken according to the instructions provided in marketing and packaging, there are certain dangers associated with the laxatives. Dehydration is a possibility given the effect on internal water levels, and if this or an electrolytic imbalance gets out of control, a person could experience kidney issues or even be killed. Various incidents have been reported in which a user suffered some adversity, while 13 situations have come to the fore in which the user was actually killed.
The big concern on the part of the FDA is that people who are taking these products are doing so without sticking to the usage instructions outlined on packaging or by medical professionals. Typically, such products should only be used for three days maximum, and during that time, the appropriate dosage should only be taken once in a 24 hour period.
Unfortunately, these instructions may not always be followed, whether that’s because they’re unclear to the user or because the user doesn’t realize the serious repercussions of going beyond what would be appropriate. This might occur because the initial dosage didn’t have the effect they were counting on.
The FDA wants all potential users to understand the potentially dangerous side effects of the drug, and they’re thus asking that persons (including children) with health issues and any person over 55 submit to a consultation with a medical professional before usage of a laxative. The warnings are also geared toward persons taking kidney medications or whose colons have been inflamed.
The FDA is further asking that users work to identify side effects when they occur so that prompt treatment can be sought. If you feel thirsty or lightheaded, and if the laxative doesn’t trigger a bowel movement, seek assistance from a doctor at once.
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