Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 45

laxative - Bulk-producing agents, Stool softeners / Surfactants, Lubricants / Emollient, Hydrating agents (osmotics)

A drug which causes emptying of the bowels; also known as a purgative. Laxatives are overused for the treatment of constipation, which is usually cured by a high fibre diet. Except when medically recommended, authorities believe, they do more harm than good. Examples include castor oil and diphenylmethane.

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