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senna (correctol herbal tea, senokot)

available over the counter: yes

uses: short term treatment of constipation;  effective for treating constipation caused by narcotic analgesics

mechanism of action: stimulates water and electrolyte secretion in the intestine to induce defecation

side effects
• common:
cramping, diarrhea, nausea
• less common: none
• serious: confusion, cardiac irregularities, muscle cramps, weakness

concerns: do not take for more than one week, unless your doctor advises; overuse may cause dependence; do not take other medications within 2 hours;  eat increased amounts of vitamin D and folic acid

 

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