Why is this medication prescribed?
Magnesium citrate is used to treat occasional constipation on a short-term basis. Magnesium citrate is in a class of medications called saline laxatives. It works by causing water to be retained with the stool. This increases the number of bowel movements and softens the stool so it is easier to pass.
How should this medicine be used?
Magnesium citrate comes as a powder to mix with a liquid and as a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken as a single daily dose or to divide the dose into two or more parts over one day. Do not take magnesium citrate for more than 1 week, unless your doctor tells you to do so. Magnesium citrate usually causes a bowel movement within 30 minutes to 6 hours after taking it. Follow the directions on your product label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take magnesium citrate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Take the liquid product with a full glass (8 ounces [240 milliliters]) of liquid.
To prepare the powder for solution, mix the powder with 10 ounces (296 milliliters) of cold water or other liquids and shake or stir the mixture thoroughly. If needed, refrigerate the solution after mixing it, but mix it again before use. If the oral solution mixture is not used within 36 hours after preparation, dispose of the mixture. Be sure to ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about how to mix or take this medication.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
Magnesium citrate is also used to empty the colon (large intestine, bowel) before a colonoscopy (examination of the inside of the colon to check for colon cancer and other abnormalities) or certain medical procedures.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking magnesium citrate,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to magnesium citrate, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in magnesium citrate preparations. Ask your pharmacist or check the product label for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking other medications, take them at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking magnesium citrate.
- tell your doctor if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or a sudden change of bowel habits lasting more than 2 weeks. Tell your doctor if you are on a magnesium or sodium-restricted diet. Also, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking magnesium citrate, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
This medication usually is taken as needed.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Magnesium citrate may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- loose, watery, or more frequent stools
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop taking magnesium citrate and call your doctor immediately:
- blood in stool
- unable to have a bowel movement after use
Magnesium citrate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light, excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- slow heartbeat
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about magnesium citrate.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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