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All about: magnesium sulfate

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Generic Name: magnesium sulfate (mag NEE see um SUL fate)
Brand Names: Epsom Salt

What is magnesium sulfate?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves. Magnesium sulfate also increases water in the intestines, which may induce defecation.

Magnesium hydroxide is used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation (irregularity).

Magnesium sulfate may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about magnesium sulfate?

Before taking magnesium sulfate, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, allergies, or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Magnesium sulfate may not be recommended in some situations.

Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative if you have stomach (abdominal) pain, nausea, or vomiting, unless directed by a doctor. If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that persists over a period of 2 weeks, consult your healthcare provider before using a laxative. Magnesium sulfate should not be used for longer than one week, unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use of a laxative may indicate a more serious condition; stop using magnesium sulfate and contact your healthcare provider.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking magnesium sulfate?

Do not take magnesium sulfate without first talking to your doctor if you have kidney disease. Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative if you have stomach (abdominal) pain, nausea, or vomiting, unless directed by a doctor. If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that persists over a period of 2 weeks, consult your healthcare provider before using a laxative. Magnesium sulfate should not be used for longer than one week, unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use of a laxative may indicate a more serious condition; stop using magnesium sulfate and contact your healthcare provider.

Before taking magnesium sulfate, tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, allergies, or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Magnesium sulfate may not be recommended in some situations.

It is not known whether magnesium sulfate will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not take magnesium sulfate without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. It is not known whether magnesium sulfate will be harmful to an nursing baby. Do not take magnesium sulfate without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take magnesium sulfate?

Take magnesium sulfate exactly as directed by your doctor or as directed on the package. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Magnesium sulfate may be used orally or as a rectal enema. Follow your doctor's instructions or the directions on the package.

Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative if you have stomach (abdominal) pain, nausea, or vomiting, unless directed by a doctor. If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that persists over a period of 2 weeks, consult your healthcare provider before using a laxative. Magnesium sulfate should not be used for longer than one week, unless otherwise directed by your healthcare provider. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use of a laxative may indicate a more serious condition; stop using magnesium sulfate and contact your healthcare provider. Do not take more magnesium sulfate than is directed. Store magnesium sulfate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and take only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not take a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of an magnesium sulfate overdose include nausea, vomiting, flushing, low blood pressure, a slow heartbeat, drowsiness, coma, and death.

What should I avoid while taking magnesium sulfate?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity while taking magnesium sulfate unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

Magnesium sulfate side effects

Stop taking magnesium sulfate and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives).

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take magnesium sulfate and talk to your doctor if you experience diarrhea or upset stomach.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect magnesium sulfate?

Before taking magnesium sulfate, talk to your doctor if you are taking

  • a tetracycline antibiotic such as tetracycline (Sumycin, Achromycin V, and others), demeclocycline (Declomycin), doxycycline (Vibramycin, Monodox, Doxy, and others), minocycline (Minocin, Dynacin, and others), or oxytetracycline (Terramycin, and others);

  • a fluoroquinolone antibiotic such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), ofloxacin (Floxin), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), grepafloxacin (Raxar), and others;

  • penicillamine (Cuprimine);

  • digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxicaps); or

  • nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin, others).

You not be able to take magnesium sulfate, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Drugs other than those listed here can also interact with magnesium sulfate. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about magnesium sulfate written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Magnesium sulfate is available over-the-counter generically and under several brand names. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Consultation with a licensed health care professional is advisable before using any herbal/health supplement. Remember, keep this and all other prescription drug products, over-the-counter drug products, and herbal/health supplements out of the reach of children.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.04. Revision Date: 2/13/04 4:00:26 PM.

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