Frequently Asked Questions

magnesium citrate solution

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Examples include Citrate of Magnesia and LiquiPrep

Laxatives


Pronunciation

Magnesium citrate solution is used for:

Clearing the bowels before tests or for treating constipation.

Magnesium citrate solution is a laxative. It works by attracting and retaining water in the intestine, which allows the bowel to evacuate.

Do NOT use magnesium citrate solution if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in magnesium citrate solution
  • you are taking aluminum salt (eg, aluminum hydroxide) or quinolones (eg, ciprofloxacin)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Practical Parenting: Common Medical Conditions That May Affect Your Baby

Before using magnesium citrate solution:

Some medical conditions may interact with magnesium citrate solution. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of bowel obstruction or kidney conditions, appendicitis, heart failure, or rectal bleeding

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with magnesium citrate solution. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Aluminum salts (eg, aluminum hydroxide) or anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by magnesium citrate solution
  • Bisphosphonates (eg, risedronate), digoxin, penicillamine, quinolone antibiotics (eg, ciprofloxacin), or tetracyclines (eg, doxycycline) because their effectiveness may be decreased by magnesium citrate solution

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if magnesium citrate solution may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use magnesium citrate solution:

Use magnesium citrate solution as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take magnesium citrate solution on an empty stomach. Take magnesium citrate solution with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL).
  • If you also take a bisphosphonate (eg, alendronic acid), digoxin, or a tetracycline (eg, doxycycline), do not take them within 2 to 4 hours of taking magnesium citrate solution. Check with your doctor if you have questions.
  • If you miss a dose of magnesium citrate solution, take it as soon as you remember. Continue to take it as directed by your doctor or on the package label.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use magnesium citrate solution.

Important safety information:

  • Do not use magnesium citrate solution if you experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding except under the direction of your doctor.
  • If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for 2 weeks or more, check with your doctor and do not use any more of magnesium citrate solution.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than 1 week without checking with your doctor.
  • Magnesium citrate solution should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 2 years old; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using magnesium citrate solution while you are pregnant. It is not known if magnesium citrate solution is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use magnesium citrate solution, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of magnesium citrate solution:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; stomach discomfort.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blood in the stool; cramps; dizziness; fainting; irregular heartbeat; severe diarrhea; sweating; weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of magnesium citrate solution:

Store magnesium citrate solution at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep magnesium citrate solution out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about magnesium citrate solution, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Magnesium citrate solution is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take magnesium citrate solution or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about magnesium citrate solution. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to magnesium citrate solution. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using magnesium citrate solution.

Issue Date: February 4, 2015
Database Edition 15.1.1.002
Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Not all side effects for magnesium citrate may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to magnesium citrate: solution

Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; stomach discomfort.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking magnesium citrate:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); blood in the stool; cramps; dizziness; fainting; irregular heartbeat; severe diarrhea; sweating; weakness.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to magnesium citrate: compounding powder, oral liquid, oral tablet

Other

Mild hypermagnesemia is generally well-tolerated. Moderate or severe hypermagnesemia affects the nervous and cardiovascular systems primarily.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included a decrease in tendon reflexes, muscle weakness, mental confusion, sedation, mental depression, areflexia, coma and respiratory paralysis. CNS depression, often presenting as somnolence, may be more likely and more severe in patients with renal dysfunction.[Ref]

Nervous system side effects from hypermagnesemia result from suppression of neuromuscular transmission in the CNS and at the neuromuscular junction (which can be antagonized by calcium). Clinically, if serum magnesium (Mg) levels increase to 4 to 7 mEq/L, there may be a decrease in tendon reflexes, muscle weakness, and/or mental confusion or sedation. At levels of 5 to 10 mEq/L, the respiratory rate slows and blood pressure falls. At levels of 10 to 15 mEq/L, there is usually profound mental depression, areflexia, coma and respiratory paralysis. Mg also has a curare-like effect at the neuromuscular junction at serum levels above 10 mEq/L. Death is not uncommon when serum Mg levels rise to 15 mEq/L.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

The cardiovascular consequences of hypermagnesemia are due to peripheral vasodilation. Hypotension may be observed when serum Mg levels rise to 5 to 10 mEq/L. Hypotension, depressed myocardial conductivity, and bradyarrhythmias may be associated with levels greater than 10 mEq/L. While some patients are inexplicably able to tolerate extraordinarily high Mg levels, there is a significant risk of asystole when levels rise to 25 mEq/L. The risk of cardiotoxicity from hypermagnesemia is increased in the presence of hypocalcemia, hyperkalemia, acidosis, digitalis therapy, and renal insufficiency.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included hypotension, depressed myocardial conductivity, asystole, and bradyarrhythmias.[Ref]

Metabolic

A metabolic concern in the case of acute hypermagnesemia is hypocalcemia. Elevated Mg may cause hypocalcemia due to suppression of the release of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and competition for renal tubular reabsorption between calcium (Ca) and Mg. The latter can lead to decreased Ca reabsorption and hypercalciuria, which aggravates the hypocalcemia produced by decreased release of PTH.[Ref]

Metabolic side effects have included hypocalcemia. The effects of hypermagnesemia may be worsened by the presence of hypocalcemia, especially in patients with uremia.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects include nausea when serum Mg levels rise to 4 to 5 mEq/L.

Rare cases of paralytic ileus associated with serum Mg levels greater than 5 mEq/L have been reported.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, and paralytic ileus (rarely).[Ref]

References

1. Lembcke B, Fuchs C "Magnesium load induced by ingestion of magnesium-containing antacids." Contrib Nephrol 38 (1984): 185-94

2. Schrier RW, Gottschalk CW, Eds. "Diseases of the Kidney, 5th Edition." Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company 1-3 (1993): 183-2653

3. Alison LH, Bulugahapitiya D "Laxative induced magnesium poisoning in a 6 week old infant." BMJ 300 (1990): 125

4. Wilson J, Braunwald E, Isselbacher K, Petersdorf R, Martin J, Fauci A, Root R "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 12th Edition." McGraw-Hill, Inc., Health Professions Division, New York 1 (1991): 1938

5. Jenny DB, Goris GB, Urwiller RD, Brian BA "Hypermagnesemia following irrigation of renal pelvis. Cause of respiratory depression." JAMA 240 (1978): 1378-9

6. Cumming WA, Thomas VJ "Hypermagnesemia: a cause of abnormal metaphyses in the neonate." AJR Am J Roentgenol 152 (1989): 1071-2

7. Golzarian J, Scott HW, Richards WO "Hypermagnesemia-induced paralytic ileus." Dig Dis Sci 39 (1994): 1138-42

More about magnesium citrate

  • Side Effects
  • During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
  • Dosage Information
  • Drug Interactions
  • Support Group
  • En Espanol
  • 56 Reviews - Add your own review/rating

Consumer resources

  • Magnesium citrate solution
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Other brands: Citrate of Magnesia, Citroma, LiquiPrep

Professional resources

  • Magnesium Citrate Liquid (FDA)
  • Magnesium Citrate (Wolters Kluwer)

Related treatment guides

  • Constipation

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