Inconvenient topic: laxative abuse. review and clinical case

  • N. V. Konovalova
  • O. V. Stopinchuk
  • O. Y. Krikus
Keywords: laxatives, laxatives toxicity, missuse, laxative abuse.


Annotation. Laxatives are drugs with different mechanism of action that are used to treat or prevent constipation. Use of laxatives to control body weight is considered a dangerous tendency, especially among young women with eating disorders. Natural or synthetic stimulant purgatives are the most commonly used for weight loss because they are cost-effective, have rapid onset of action, and available in various dosage forms. Excessive use of laxatives results in a gradual efficacy decrease causes specific damage of the gastrointestinal tract, other organs and systems. This condition is known as "laxative abuse". The purpose of this review is to summarize the available scientific data on behavioral characteristics, clinical and diagnostic criteria and tactics of treatment of laxative abuse with a clinical case description. Laxatives abuse should be suspected in case of eating disorders, clinical, laboratory, endoscopic and histological changes in the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment of laxative abuse requires gradual laxatives withdrawal, potassium replacement therapy and mandatory training in the healthy eating principles. The clinical case describes a young woman who tried to stop taking laxatives, but she started to use diuretics due to peripheral swelling. At the time of examination, the daily dose of furosemide was 600 mg (15 tablets a day). Laxative abuse is relatively common among young women and requires monitoring by physicians of various specialties.


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How to Cite
Konovalova, N. V., Stopinchuk, O. V., & Krikus, O. Y. (2020). Inconvenient topic: laxative abuse. review and clinical case. Reports of Vinnytsia National Medical University, 24(4), 720-725.