laxative

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laxative,

drug or other substance used to stimulate the action of the intestines in eliminating waste from the body. The term laxative usually refers to a mild-acting substance; substances of increasingly drastic action are known as cathartics, purgatives, hydrogogues, and drastics, respectively. Laxatives or cathartics fall into three general categories: irritants that stimulate the muscular action of the intestines (cascara, phenolphthalein, senna); compounds that increase the amount of bulk in the intestines either by withdrawing water from the body (salines such as Epsom salts, citrate of magnesia) or by increasing the bulk when combined with fluids (agar-agar, bran, the various cellulose substances); and lubricants such as mineral oil, which ease the passage of waste and counteract excessive drying of the intestinal contents. Frequent or regular use of cathartics may seriously disrupt the natural digestive processes. When food and even waste products are forced out of the intestinal tract too rapidly, the body is deprived of vital substances, including the nutrients absorbed in the small intestine and the water, vitamins, and minerals extracted from the waste matter in the large intestine. Vitamins A and D, which are soluble in oil, are removed from the body even when the least irritating laxative, mineral oil, is taken. In addition to disrupting digestive and nutritional processes, laxatives reinforce the condition they are intended to overcome. When the intestines are purged, it may be several days before they can fill again with sufficient waste to induce natural elimination. The harm can be perpetuated by frequent use aimed at forcing daily elimination. The response to laxatives is soon lessened, so that larger and more frequent doses may become necessary. Laxatives should be avoided especially when there is abdominal pain. An inflamed appendix may rupture after the use of a laxative. See constipationconstipation,
infrequent or difficult passage of feces. Constipation may be caused by the lack of adequate roughage or fluid in the diet, prolonged physical inactivity, certain drugs, or emotional disturbance.
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laxative

[′lak·səd·iv]
(pharmacology)
An agent that stimulates bowel movement and relieves constipation.

laxative

an agent stimulating evacuation of faeces
References in periodicals archive ?
TOP LAXATIVE TABLET/POWDER BRANDS MARGIN COMPARISON BY CHANNEL Mass Food Drug MIRALAX 21% 30% 36% DULCOLAX 23% 32% 40% COLACE 34% 39% 44% FLEET 34% 38% 46% EX-LAX 25% 34% 43% PHILLIPS' 25% 32% 39% Source: Competitive Promotion Report Note: Table made from bar graph.
Stool-softener laxatives increase the fluid content of stools, making them easier to pass.
3) Other restrictions of use proposed by EFSA are: "The use of stimulant laxatives for more than two weeks requires medical supervision.
Patients and health care providers alike have the false impression that laxatives are harmless because they are common and often available without a prescription.
A therapeutic trial of fiber supplementation and/or osmotic or stimulant laxatives after discontinuing medications that can cause constipation and after performing blood and other tests as guided by clinical features, but before anorectal testing.
At first, laxatives seemed an easy solution to Richard's problems.
He noted that she obtained additional laxatives from other relatives as well.
Prucalopride should only be considered for women who have tried at least two different types of laxative and lifestyle changes for at least 6 months, but have not had relief from constipation, NICE said.
A Cochrane systematic review found no RCTs of stimulant laxatives for CFC and concluded that evidence concerning the efficacy of these agents is insufficient.
The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) issued guidance for England and Wales over the use of strong laxatives, which are prescribed to patients before they undergo bowel examinations or surgery.
In other parts of the country, patients who cannot tolerate the laxative are turning to colonic irrigation practitioners in their communities--with their doctors' consent.