Girardi | Keese

FDA warns laxatives can be dangerous

Laxatives are often used to treat constipation, however, the Food and Drug Administration is warning that this can be dangerous if the medicine is taken too often, in the wrong dose, or by people who are suffering from a particular medical condition.

Our California readers, along with many others throughout the country, are familiar with the medical benefits of laxatives. To protect against misuse, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning after reviewing reports that showed 13 deaths in people who used oral laxatives containing sodium phosphate. Along with these deaths, the reports also noted 54 related illnesses.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the products are sold under the brand name Fleet, both generic as well as store brands. Anybody who misuses this product can run into issues with dehydration as well as dangerous changes in electrolytes. The end result can be damage to the heart and kidneys.

Most of the issues regarding this product come into play when somebody fails to follow the directions as outlined on the label, such as taking a dose that is too high.

Before issuing a warning, the Food and Drug Administration reviewed reports dating back to 1969 along with reports in medical journals as old as 1957.

There are products, such as laxatives, that can be dangerous despite the fact that they are supposed to help the person taking them. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration keeps a close eye on dangerous products, doing their best to help people avoid issues that could lead to injury or even death.

Source: USA Today, "Some laxatives are dangerous when misused, FDA warns" Kim Painter, Jan. 09, 2014

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