Preparations containing magnesium should not be given as laxatives to patients with kidney disease, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, symptoms of appendicitis, or symptoms of intestinal obstruction or perforation. In addition, these preparations should not be used routinely to relieve constipation, as the patient may become dehydrated, lose calcium from the body, or develop a dependence on them. Antacids containing magnesium should be used with caution in patients with kidney disease.
Magnesium preparations taken internally may cause hypermagnesemia, especially with prolonged use; electrolyte imbalance; and abdominal cramps when taken as a laxative. Milk of magnesia occasionally produces nausea or diarrhea. There are no known side effects of Epsom salts when used externally.
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