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Dangers of laxatives and Sodium Phosphate for Constipation.

Constipation is marked by infrequent bowel movements or difficulty in passing stools.
Be very careful when using laxatives to cure constipation and difficult bowel movement.

In recent reviews of harmful side effects reported by consumers and health care professionals, FDA identified 54 cases of serious side effects associated with the oral or rectal use of OTC sodium phosphate products. Thirteen cases were fatal, including one child and 12 adults.
"According to the reports, most cases of serious harm occurred with a single dose of sodium phosphate that was larger than recommended or with more than 1 dose in a day," the FDA said.

The label of sodium phosphate based laxatives states they should be used as a single dose once a day, not be used for more than three days. Equally important, consumers who do not have a bowel movement after taking an oral or rectal dose should not take another dose of the product, the FDA warned.
If the laxative is used anally and the dose is not expelled after 30 minutes, a health care professional should be contacted right away.

More information on the FDA warning is available on the agency's Web site about Sodium Phosphate for Constipation.

People older than 55 and young children are most at risk. Also people who have kidney disease, those who are already dehydrated, have bowel obstructions or bowel inflammation and patients taking other medications that affect kidney function. Such as diuretics or water pills, drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure and pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen.

Some symptoms of dehydration are thirst, dry mouth, reduced urine, light-headedness or dizziness, especially with changes in position.

Caregivers should not give the laxatives to kids suffering constipation aged 5 and younger without talking to a health care provider. And health care providers should be leery of giving oral doses of the products to kids 5 and younger. Enema versions of the drugs should never be given to children younger than 2, the FDA said.