OTC Laxatives Have Been Linked to Serious Side Effects and Deaths

Whenever the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues a consumer update, like “Use Certain Laxatives with Caution,” about defective drugs, it’s wise to heed it. In a recent press release, the FDA has suggested that consumers rethink over-the-counter laxatives. Or at the least, carefully read the label for warnings and dosing instructions.

Failing to do so could be harmful, even deadly. In fact, the FDA has received numerous reports of laxative users suffering serious side effects and 13 reported deaths. Some have included severe dehydration and injury to the kidneys.

Warning labels do instruct those with certain medical conditions — such as kidney disease and cardiovascular problems — to consult a doctor first. But the FDA has expanded those warnings (which aren’t included in the labels) advising children and adults 55 years and older with certain health conditions seek advice from a healthcare provider before taking the product because of the increased risk of side effects.

This warning includes those with colon inflammation and patients taking certain other medications such as those that impact kidney function, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Additionally, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen) shouldn’t be mixed with laxatives.

Another issue is the dosing instructions. They indicate that a single dose should be taken once a day, and the product shouldn’t be used for more than three days. But another important part of the instructions is that if after taking the first dose there is still no bowel movement, another dose shouldn’t be taken. Failing to follow these instructions could cause harmful side effects.

Drug labels are supposed to address all risks associated with the product adequately. Missing information could be potentially dangerous to consumers and could be factored into a claim against the manufacturer, should someone be seriously or fatally injured after using it. If it’s believed you or someone you love has suffered serious or fatal side effects from using a laxative, it might warrant seeking legal advice. The Gacovino, Lake & Associates blog has varied information that covers defective products, traffic statistics and more. Check it out to learn if you could acquire monetary damages for a defective product.

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