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magnesium sulfate

Pronunciation

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

What is magnesium sulfate?

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that is important for many systems in the body especially the muscles and nerves. Magnesium sulfate also increases water in the intestines.

Magnesium sulfate is used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation.

Not all external uses for magnesium sulfate have been approved by the FDA. Epsom salt should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Magnesium sulfate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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

Never use a higher dose of magnesium sulfate than recommended on the package label, or as your doctor has directed. Using too much magnesium sulfate can cause serious, life-threatening side effects.

Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative without medical advice if you have: severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, a perforated bowel, a bowel obstruction, severe constipation, colitis, toxic megacolon, or a sudden change in bowel habits that has lasted 2 weeks or longer.

If you have rectal bleeding or if you do not have a bowel movement after using magnesium sulfate as a laxative, stop using the medication and call your doctor at once. These may be signs of a more serious condition.

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

Do not use magnesium sulfate as a laxative without medical advice if you have:

  • severe stomach pain;

  • nausea or vomiting;

  • a perforated bowel;

  • a bowel obstruction or severe constipation;

  • colitis or toxic megacolon; or

  • a sudden change in bowel habits lasting 2 weeks or longer.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take this medicine if you have:

  • diabetes;

  • kidney disease;

  • an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia);

  • if you have already been using a laxative for longer than 1 week; or

  • if you on a low-magnesium diet.

It is not known whether magnesium sulfate will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether magnesium sulfate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take magnesium sulfate?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Never use a higher dose of magnesium sulfate than recommended on the package label, or as your doctor has directed. Using too much magnesium sulfate can cause serious, life-threatening side effects.

Magnesium sulfate may be used orally (by mouth) or as a soak. Follow your doctor's instructions or the directions on the package.

To take magnesium sulfate orally, dissolve one dose in 8 ounces of water. Stir this mixture and drink all of it right away. You may add a small amount of lemon juice to improve the taste of this mixture.

Magnesium sulfate taken orally should produce a bowel movement within 30 minutes to 6 hours.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking magnesium sulfate.

If you have rectal bleeding or if you do not have a bowel movement after using magnesium sulfate as a laxative, stop using the medication and call your doctor at once. These may be signs of a more serious condition.

To use magnesium sulfate as an epsom salt soak, dissolve in a large amount of water in a large bowl, a bucket, a foot tub, or a bath tub. Follow the directions on the product label about how much epsom salt to use per gallon of water.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since magnesium sulfate is used on an as needed basis, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of magnesium sulfate can be fatal

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling), feeling very hot, slow heart rate, extreme drowsiness, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking magnesium sulfate?

Magnesium sulfate taken orally can make it harder for your body to absorb other medications you take by mouth, especially antibiotics. Avoid taking other medicines within 2 hours before or after you take magnesium sulfate as a laxative.

Magnesium sulfate side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Common side effects may include diarrhea or upset stomach.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Magnesium sulfate dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypomagnesemia:

1 g IM every 6 hours for 4 doses (mild hypomagnesemia) or
as much as 2 mEq/kg (0.5 mL of a 50% solution) within 4 hours if necessary (more severe hypomagnesemia) or
5 g in 1 L IV fluid over 3 hours.

Administration should be discontinued as soon as the desired clinical effect is achieved and the serum level is normal.

Usual Adult Dose for Ventricular Arrhythmia:

Initial dose: 1 to 3 g IV bolus over 2 to 15 minutes.
Most studies have continued infusions for 24 to 48 hours.
A 1 to 3 g bolus may be repeated in 15 minutes.
Thereafter, 1 to 2 g may be administered by continuous IV infusion.

Usual Adult Dose for Seizure Prophylaxis:

Seizure Prevention in Preeclampsia/Eclampsia:
Initial: IM: 4 to 5 g of a 50% solution every 4 hours as necessary.
IV: 4 g of a 10% to 20% solution, not exceeding 1.5 mL/min of a 10% solution.
Maintenance: IV Infusion: 1 to 2 g/hour. Maximum dose should not exceed 30 to 40 g/day.
Duration: Continuous administration beyond 5 to 7 days can cause fetal harm.

What other drugs will affect magnesium sulfate?

Other drugs may interact with magnesium sulfate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about magnesium sulfate.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 2014-03-27, 1:40:49 PM.

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