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Laxatives

Laxatives are medications used to promote defecation Defecation The normal process of elimination of fecal material from the rectum. Gastrointestinal Motility. Most often, laxatives are used to treat constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation or for bowel preparation for certain procedures. There are 4 main classes of laxatives: bulk-forming, stimulant, osmotic, and emollient. Often, a combination of these medications is required to have the desired effect. All laxatives can result in bloating Bloating Constipation. Laxative Laxative Agents that produce a soft formed stool, and relax and loosen the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Hypokalemia overuse can induce diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea and dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration. Non– anion gap Anion gap Metabolic Acidosis metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis occurs owing to bicarbonate Bicarbonate Inorganic salts that contain the -HCO3 radical. They are an important factor in determining the ph of the blood and the concentration of bicarbonate ions is regulated by the kidney. Levels in the blood are an index of the alkali reserve or buffering capacity. Electrolytes loss in the feces, while metabolic alkalosis Metabolic alkalosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic alkalosis also occurs when there is an increased loss of acid, either renally or through the upper GI tract (e.g., vomiting), increased intake of HCO3-, or a reduced ability to secrete HCO3- when needed. Metabolic Alkalosis occurs because of volume contraction.

Last updated: 17 Mar, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Laxatives are medications that increase the frequency of bowel movements.

Classification

  • Bulk-forming laxatives
  • Stimulant laxatives
  • Osmotic laxatives
  • Emollient laxatives

General indications

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation: when conservative measures (e.g., fiber, hydration, exercise) fail
  • Bowel regimen for patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship on opioid Opioid Compounds with activity like opiate alkaloids, acting at opioid receptors. Properties include induction of analgesia or narcosis. Constipation therapy
  • Bowel preparation before a rectal examination or procedure involving the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy (e.g., colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening)

General side effects

  • Bloating Bloating Constipation
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea 
  • Dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration
  • Non– anion gap Anion gap Metabolic Acidosis metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis due to loss of bicarbonate Bicarbonate Inorganic salts that contain the -HCO3 radical. They are an important factor in determining the ph of the blood and the concentration of bicarbonate ions is regulated by the kidney. Levels in the blood are an index of the alkali reserve or buffering capacity. Electrolytes through feces
  • Metabolic alkalosis Metabolic alkalosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic alkalosis also occurs when there is an increased loss of acid, either renally or through the upper GI tract (e.g., vomiting), increased intake of HCO3-, or a reduced ability to secrete HCO3- when needed. Metabolic Alkalosis due to volume contraction

Bulk-forming Laxatives

Chemistry

Bulk-forming laxatives tend to be either:

Agents

  • Psyllium husk (e.g., Metamucil)
  • Methylcellulose (e.g., Citrucel)
  • Polycarbophil (e.g., FiberCon)
  • Wheat dextrin (e.g., Benefiber)

Mechanism of action

  • Absorbs water → forms a bulky gel
  • Added bulk distends the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy → promotes peristalsis Peristalsis A movement, caused by sequential muscle contraction, that pushes the contents of the intestines or other tubular organs in one direction. Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Allows for material to more freely flow Flow Blood flows through the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins in a closed, continuous circuit. Flow is the movement of volume per unit of time. Flow is affected by the pressure gradient and the resistance fluid encounters between 2 points. Vascular resistance is the opposition to flow, which is caused primarily by blood friction against vessel walls. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure through the intestine

Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics is the science that analyzes how the human body interacts with a drug. Pharmacokinetics examines how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted by the body. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

  • Absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption: none
  • Metabolism: none
  • Onset of action: 12–72 hours

Indications

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
  • Fiber supplement
  • Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disease characterized by chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits without an identifiable organic cause. The etiology and pathophysiology of this disease are not well understood, and there are many factors that may contribute. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Contraindications Contraindications A condition or factor associated with a recipient that makes the use of a drug, procedure, or physical agent improper or inadvisable. Contraindications may be absolute (life threatening) or relative (higher risk of complications in which benefits may outweigh risks). Noninvasive Ventilation

  • Fecal impaction
  • GI obstruction

Adverse effects

Adverse effects tend to be minimal with these agents but may include:

  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Intestinal obstruction Intestinal obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis
  • Anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis An acute hypersensitivity reaction due to exposure to a previously encountered antigen. The reaction may include rapidly progressing urticaria, respiratory distress, vascular collapse, systemic shock, and death. Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction (associated with psyllium in susceptible individuals)

Stimulant Laxatives

Agents

  • Senna 
  • Bisacodyl
  • Castor oil

Mechanism of action

  • Myenteric plexus Myenteric plexus One of two ganglionated neural networks which together form the enteric nervous system. The myenteric (Auerbach’s) plexus is located between the longitudinal and circular muscle layers of the gut. Its neurons project to the circular muscle, to other myenteric ganglia, to submucosal ganglia, or directly to the epithelium, and play an important role in regulating and patterning gut motility. Gastrointestinal Neural and Hormonal Signaling stimulation through direct action on the intestinal mucosa Intestinal Mucosa Lining of the intestines, consisting of an inner epithelium, a middle lamina propria, and an outer muscularis mucosae. In the small intestine, the mucosa is characterized by a series of folds and abundance of absorptive cells (enterocytes) with microvilli. Small Intestine: Anatomy or nerve plexus → colonic contractions
  • Alter water and electrolyte secretion Secretion Coagulation Studies in the intestinal mucosa Intestinal Mucosa Lining of the intestines, consisting of an inner epithelium, a middle lamina propria, and an outer muscularis mucosae. In the small intestine, the mucosa is characterized by a series of folds and abundance of absorptive cells (enterocytes) with microvilli. Small Intestine: Anatomy

Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics is the science that analyzes how the human body interacts with a drug. Pharmacokinetics examines how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted by the body. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

  • Absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption: none or minimal
  • Metabolism: Senna and bisacodyl undergo hepatic metabolism.
  • Onset of action: 
    • 6–12 hours (up to 24 hours with senna) for oral administration
    • Approximately 1 hour for rectal administration
  • Excretion:

Indications

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
  • Clearing the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy before colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening

Adverse effects

  • Melanosis Melanosis Disorders of increased melanin pigmentation that develop without preceding inflammatory disease. Primary Biliary Cholangitis coli:
  • Hypokalemia Hypokalemia Hypokalemia is defined as plasma potassium (K+) concentration < 3.5 mEq/L. Homeostatic mechanisms maintain plasma concentration between 3.5-5.2 mEq/L despite marked variation in dietary intake. Hypokalemia can be due to renal losses, GI losses, transcellular shifts, or poor dietary intake. Hypokalemia
  • Metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis or alkalosis Alkalosis A pathological condition that removes acid or adds base to the body fluids. Respiratory Alkalosis
  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
  • Vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
Melanosis coli associated with stimulant laxative use

Melanosis Melanosis Disorders of increased melanin pigmentation that develop without preceding inflammatory disease. Primary Biliary Cholangitis coli is a black discoloration of the colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy associated with stimulant laxative Laxative Agents that produce a soft formed stool, and relax and loosen the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Hypokalemia use.

Image: “ Melanosis Melanosis Disorders of increased melanin pigmentation that develop without preceding inflammatory disease. Primary Biliary Cholangitis coli in the elderly: a look beyond what can be seen” by BMC Surgery. License: CC BY 2.0

Osmotic Laxatives

Chemistry

Osmotic laxatives are often:

  • Nonabsorbable sugars
  • Nonabsorbable salts

Agents

  • Magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes citrate
  • Magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes sulfate
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Sorbitol
  • Lactulose

Mechanism of action

  • General:
  • Lactulose:
    • Bacteria Bacteria Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled microorganisms that are metabolically active and divide by binary fission. Some of these organisms play a significant role in the pathogenesis of diseases. Bacteriology degrade lactulose → lactic acid
    • pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance → promotes ammonia Ammonia A colorless alkaline gas. It is formed in the body during decomposition of organic materials during a large number of metabolically important reactions. Note that the aqueous form of ammonia is referred to as ammonium hydroxide. Acid-Base Balance conversion to ammonium → excretion

Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics is the science that analyzes how the human body interacts with a drug. Pharmacokinetics examines how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted by the body. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

  • Absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption: none
  • Metabolism: none
  • Onset of action: 
    • 12–72 hours for oral administration 
    • < 1 hour for rectal administration

Indications

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
  • Preparation for colonoscopy Colonoscopy Endoscopic examination, therapy or surgery of the luminal surface of the colon. Colorectal Cancer Screening 
  • Lactulose is indicated for hepatic encephalopathy Encephalopathy Hyper-IgM Syndrome

Contraindications Contraindications A condition or factor associated with a recipient that makes the use of a drug, procedure, or physical agent improper or inadvisable. Contraindications may be absolute (life threatening) or relative (higher risk of complications in which benefits may outweigh risks). Noninvasive Ventilation

Lactulose should not be used in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with galactosemia Galactosemia Galactosemia is a disorder caused by defects in galactose metabolism. Galactosemia is an inherited, autosomal-recessive condition, which results in inadequate galactose processing and high blood levels of monosaccharide. The rare disorder often presents in infants with symptoms of lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and jaundice. Galactosemia.

Adverse effects

  • Bloating Bloating Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
  • Dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration
  • Hypermagnesemia Hypermagnesemia Electrolytes (in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with renal impairment who take magnesium-containing laxatives)

Emollient Laxatives

Agents

Docusate (Colace) is a common emollient laxative Laxative Agents that produce a soft formed stool, and relax and loosen the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Hypokalemia, also known as a “stool softener.”

Mechanism of action

Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics Pharmacokinetics is the science that analyzes how the human body interacts with a drug. Pharmacokinetics examines how the drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted by the body. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

  • Absorption Absorption Absorption involves the uptake of nutrient molecules and their transfer from the lumen of the GI tract across the enterocytes and into the interstitial space, where they can be taken up in the venous or lymphatic circulation. Digestion and Absorption: none
  • Metabolism: none
  • Onset of action: 12–72 hours

Indications

  • Constipation Constipation Constipation is common and may be due to a variety of causes. Constipation is generally defined as bowel movement frequency < 3 times per week. Patients who are constipated often strain to pass hard stools. The condition is classified as primary (also known as idiopathic or functional constipation) or secondary, and as acute or chronic. Constipation
  • Cerumen impaction Cerumen Impaction Hearing Loss (off-label)

Contraindications Contraindications A condition or factor associated with a recipient that makes the use of a drug, procedure, or physical agent improper or inadvisable. Contraindications may be absolute (life threatening) or relative (higher risk of complications in which benefits may outweigh risks). Noninvasive Ventilation

  • GI obstruction
  • Concomitant mineral oil use

Adverse effects

Side effects are generally mild but may include:

  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
  • Throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy irritation
  • Dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration

Comparison of Laxative Medications

The following table compares and contrasts members of the laxative Laxative Agents that produce a soft formed stool, and relax and loosen the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Hypokalemia drug class:

Table: Comparison of laxative Laxative Agents that produce a soft formed stool, and relax and loosen the bowels, typically used over a protracted period, to relieve constipation. Hypokalemia medications
Class Examples Mechanism of action Side effects
Bulk-forming laxatives
  • Methylcellulose
  • Psyllium husk (e.g., Metamucil)
  • Calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes polycarbophil
  • Water-soluble fibers draw water into GI lumen
  • Formation of viscous mass Mass Three-dimensional lesion that occupies a space within the breast Imaging of the Breast easily excreted during defecation Defecation The normal process of elimination of fecal material from the rectum. Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Intestinal obstruction Intestinal obstruction Any impairment, arrest, or reversal of the normal flow of intestinal contents toward the anal canal. Ascaris/Ascariasis
  • Anaphylaxis Anaphylaxis An acute hypersensitivity reaction due to exposure to a previously encountered antigen. The reaction may include rapidly progressing urticaria, respiratory distress, vascular collapse, systemic shock, and death. Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction
Stimulant laxatives
  • Senna
  • Bisacodyl
  • Castor oil
Myenteric plexus Myenteric plexus One of two ganglionated neural networks which together form the enteric nervous system. The myenteric (Auerbach’s) plexus is located between the longitudinal and circular muscle layers of the gut. Its neurons project to the circular muscle, to other myenteric ganglia, to submucosal ganglia, or directly to the epithelium, and play an important role in regulating and patterning gut motility. Gastrointestinal Neural and Hormonal Signaling stimulation resulting in colonic contractions
  • Melanosis Melanosis Disorders of increased melanin pigmentation that develop without preceding inflammatory disease. Primary Biliary Cholangitis coli
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
  • Vomiting Vomiting The forcible expulsion of the contents of the stomach through the mouth. Hypokalemia
  • Hypokalemia Hypokalemia Hypokalemia is defined as plasma potassium (K+) concentration < 3.5 mEq/L. Homeostatic mechanisms maintain plasma concentration between 3.5-5.2 mEq/L despite marked variation in dietary intake. Hypokalemia can be due to renal losses, GI losses, transcellular shifts, or poor dietary intake. Hypokalemia
  • Metabolic acidosis Metabolic acidosis The renal system is responsible for eliminating the daily load of non-volatile acids, which is approximately 70 millimoles per day. Metabolic acidosis occurs when there is an increase in the levels of new non-volatile acids (e.g., lactic acid), renal loss of HCO3-, or ingestion of toxic alcohols. Metabolic Acidosis or alkalosis Alkalosis A pathological condition that removes acid or adds base to the body fluids. Respiratory Alkalosis
  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
Osmotic laxatives
  • Magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes citrate
  • Magnesium Magnesium A metallic element that has the atomic symbol mg, atomic number 12, and atomic weight 24. 31. It is important for the activity of many enzymes, especially those involved in oxidative phosphorylation. Electrolytes hydroxide
  • Polyethylene glycol
  • Lactulose
Draws water into GI lumen, softening the stools
  • Bloating Bloating Constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics
  • Dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration
  • Hypermagnesemia Hypermagnesemia Electrolytes
Emollient laxatives Docusate
  • Diarrhea Diarrhea Diarrhea is defined as ≥ 3 watery or loose stools in a 24-hour period. There are a multitude of etiologies, which can be classified based on the underlying mechanism of disease. The duration of symptoms (acute or chronic) and characteristics of the stools (e.g., watery, bloody, steatorrheic, mucoid) can help guide further diagnostic evaluation. Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps Cramps Ion Channel Myopathy
  • Throat Throat The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy irritation
  • Dehydration Dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism. Volume Depletion and Dehydration

References

  1. Wald, A. (2021). Management of chronic constipation in adults. UpToDate. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-chronic-constipation-in-adults
  2. Rao, S.S. (2020). Constipation in the older adult. UpToDate. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/constipation-in-the-older-adult
  3. Farinde, A. (2020). Laxatives, stool softeners, and prokinetic agents: laxatives, stool softeners, and prokinetic agents. Medscape. Retrieved May 29, 2021, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172208-overview
  4. McQuaid, K. R. (2012). Drugs used in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. In Katzung, B. G., et al. (Eds.), Basic & Clinical Pharmacology. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical, pp. 1092–1093.
  5. Bashir, A., Sizar, O. (2020). Laxatives. StatPearls. Retrieved June 6, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537246/

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