Magnesium citrate is the citrate salt of the element magnesium. It is a commonly used therapeutic drug and is prescribed as a laxative. It is retailed under the names Citrate of Magnesia, Milk of Magnesia, Citronesia and Citroma. Magnesium citrate is available for intake in the form of powder, which can be dissolved with water. It is also available in the form of tablets. It has the greatest effect when it is taken with water or juices on an empty stomach.
Magnesium citrate can attract water from tissues. Once in the intestine, it can attract enough water to induce the bowels to defecate. Thus, magnesium citrate is used to treat constipation as well as rectal and colon problems. Since magnesium citrate stimulates the bowel to perform their task of egesting waste, it is not advisable to prolong its use. A prolonged usage of magnesium citrate may cause disruption in the natural metabolism of the bowels and the person may become dependent on laxatives.
The effect of magnesium citrate sets in within 30 to 180 minutes of its intake. If there is no effect even after this time, then the doctor must be re-consulted, as the problem may be something other than diarrhea.
Magnesium citrate is not advisable for children below the age of 6 years. The prescribed dosage for adults is 11 to 25 mg, while for children it is half of that. There are no old age related problems with magnesium citrate; hence, it can be safely taken even by the elderly in proper doses.
An overdose of magnesium citrate may cause acute and protracted diarrhea, but no hazardous effect on life. A very high dosage may cause dizziness, headaches, difficulty in swallowing, skin rashes and even blockage of the intestines. If there are any of the above symptoms, then a doctor must be immediately consulted and drug use must be stopped.
Magnesium citrate is a very harmless drug if taken in the correct dosage. It does not impair driving, swimming and other such activities. However, alcohol may interfere with its functioning. Though magnesium citrate generally does not interfere with other drugs, it is advisable not to take it within two hours of consuming any other drug.
People with kidney problems should not consume this drug. Especially pregnant and lactating women should steer clear from magnesium citrate. Magnesium citrate can enter breast milk and thus into the body of the embryo. Magnesium citrate is not prescribed for people with heart ailments and those who have suffered anal fissures in the past.