Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

FDA warns taking just one laxative a day could be dangerous

See also

Many people use laxatives for relief from occasional constipation, but as little as just a dose per day could result in serious harm or even death, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a safety announcement released Wednesday.

The agency warned that many of today’s popular, over-the-counter laxatives contain sodium phosphate, an ingredient that can cause severe kidney damage and heart complications.

Reports of brand-name products, including Fleet enemas and other OTC laxatives, have been known to cause severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in the blood of some people who took more than the recommended dosage to treat constipation.

Those especially at risk for problems due to laxative overuse are small children and the elderly. Also at risk are patients with kidney disease or bowel conditions, and those treated with drugs that impact the kidneys, such as high blood pressure medications and diuretics.

Over-the-counter pain relievers – including aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen – can also put those who take above the recommended laxative dose at greater risk for serious health problems.

According to the FDA, no child who is 5 years or older should be given laxatives without first consulting with a qualified health care professional – and enemas should never be administered to those children who are younger than 2 years old.

Advertisement

Life

  • Dan Savage
    Dan Savage cares about LGBT youth, bullying and saving lives
    Today's Buzz
  • Raku
    Teachers and students can use this summer to learn a new skill
    Camera
    15 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    Camera
    10 Photos
  • Greek wine
    Unwind with these delicious wines: The thrilling wines of Greece
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Mandy Moore
    Exclusive interview with Celebrity Mandy Moore concerning animal activism
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Educational family vacations
    Find out how to take an educational family vacation that doesn't break the bank
    Camera
    9 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Applying mosquito repellent
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cM1YI5TuljA?rel=0?rel=0&amp;VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • MMR vaccine in vial
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518296047" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url="http://pshared.5min.com/Scripts/PlayerSeed.js?sid=1304&width=480&height=401&playList=518296047&autoStart=true"></div>
  • Musician/Actress Janet Krupin
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UMS0K0LlmqE?VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>