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FDA Warns Of Dangers In Over-The-Counter Use Of Laxatives

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File photo of pills. (Credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of pills. (Credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A new warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges Americans to be cautious when using over-the-counter laxatives.

Reports of negative side effects and a total of 13 deaths all caused by improper use of laxatives are said to be behind the new warning, United Press International is reporting.

The presence of sodium phosphate in the laxatives, combined with overuse, is said to be the cause of most complications, which include dehydration, abnormal electrolyte levels and kidney damage.

“The bottom line is that these products are safe for otherwise healthy adults and older children for whom dosing instructions are provided on the drug facts label as long as they follow these dosing instructions and don’t take the product more often, or in greater amounts, than the label instructs,” Dr. Mona Khurana, a medical officer in the FDA’s Division of Non-prescription Regulation Development, said in a statement obtained by UPI.

Officials note that healthcare professionals should be consulted before use of laxatives, and that they should be taken only once a day for no more than three days in a row.

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