|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative NamesLaxative abuse
Definition Return to top
A laxative is a medication used to produce bowel movements. Laxative overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication.
Most laxative overdoses in children are accidental. However, some people abuse laxatives by regularly taking overdoses in an effort to lose weight.
This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual poison exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Poisonous Ingredient Return to top
Where Found Return to top
Symptoms Return to top
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, are most common. Dehydration and electrolyte problems are more common in children than adults. Below are symptoms specific to the actual product.
Senna; Cascara sagrada:
Castor oil can cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Mineral oil can cause aspiration pneumonia, a condition where vomited stomach contents are inhaled.
Products containing methylcellulose, carboxymethylcellulose, polycarbophil, or psyllium may cause choking or intestinal blockage if they are not taken with plenty of fluids.
Home Care Return to top
Seek immediate medical help. Do NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by Poison Control or a health care professional.
Before Calling Emergency Return to top
Determine the following information:
Poison Control Return to top
The National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) can be called from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline number will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does NOT need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Take the container with you to the hospital, if possible.
See: Poison control center - emergency number
What to Expect at the Emergency Room Return to top
The health care provider will measure and monitor the patient's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, heart function, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The patient may receive:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
How well a patient does depends on the type of laxative swallowed, how much was swallowed, and how much time passed before treatment was received.
Serious symptoms are most likely in patients who abuse laxatives by taking large amounts to lose weight. First time laxative overdoses are rarely serious.
References Return to top
Ford MD, et al. Clinical Toxicology. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2001:332-333.
Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2002:149.Update Date: 2/3/2009 Updated by: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Greg Juhn, MTPW, David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Eric Perez, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (10/29/2007).