Magnesium sulfate is a chemical compound that comprises magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Its excessive consumption by humans can prove to be harmful. This article provides information on the side effects caused by this compound.
Magnesium sulfate is an inorganic salt. The therapeutic uses of this chemical compound are numerous. Its use is recommended for people affected by hypomagnesemia, which refers to the deficiency of magnesium. It is also used for the treatment of convulsions and nephritis in children. Its hydrated form, which is also referred to as Epsom salt, is used as a bathing salt or taken orally for treating constipation. It is sometimes used for treating eclampsia or delaying preterm labor in pregnant women. Like any drug, excessive intake of this compound can also cause adverse effects.
- Generally, most of the side effects are associated with the increased serum levels.
- The normal range for serum level in the body is 3 to 4 (mEq/l). Elevated levels can give rise to depression in the central nervous system, flushing, sweating, dilated pupils, and feelings of lethargy.
- Disorientation, frank coma, hypotension, flaccid paralysis, hypothermia, depressed reflexes, circulatory collapse, or cardiovascular depression could also occur.
- When the serum level is between 11 to 13 mEq/l, there are also chances of heart block or respiratory paralysis.
Effects on Metabolism
- Hypomagnesemia is one of the major side effects. It is associated with hypocalcemia, which refers to the presence of low calcium levels in the blood.
- This can lead to either neurological or gastrointestinal changes or both, which could result in weakness, vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, and nausea.
- Bone abnormalities in infants have been associated with the use of magnesium sulfate by pregnant women.
Effects on the Nervous System
- The effects of this chemical on the nervous system depend on the serum levels. Sedation, deep tendon reflexes, mental confusion, and muscle weakness is experienced, if its level is higher than 4 to 7 mEq/l.
- If the level is between 7 and 10 mEq/l, the patient may suffer from irregular respiration and a dip in the blood pressure.
- In situations, where its level is within 10 to 15 mEq/l, the effects include acute depression, areflexia, respiratory paralysis, or coma.
- Life-threatening situation could arise, if the serum level is above 15 mEq/l.
Effects on the Gastrointestinal Tract
- Consumption of 4 to 5 eEq/l of magnesium sulfate could cause nausea and diarrhea.
- Paralytic ileus is a situation where the normal gastrointestinal propulsive motor activity is disturbed. This could occur if the dosage exceeds 5 mEq/l.
Effects on the Respiratory System
- Taking it in a dose that is higher than 13 mEq/l has been known to cause respiratory arrest.
- When magnesium sulfate was administered as a tocolytic or labor repressant, which responds to diuretics, pulmonary edema was observed.
Effects on the Cardiovascular System
- The common cardiovascular side effects are chest pain and palpitations. In addition to that, hypermagnesemia increases the risk of cardio-toxicity (heart muscle damage) in the presence of hypocalcemia.
- Hyperkalemia, acidosis, digitalis therapy, and renal insufficiency also aggravate the risk.
- The patient could develop a double vision, which is medically termed as diplopia when magnesium sulfate is administered for tocolysis.
- In addition to this, dermatological urticarial eruption was noted as a hypersensitivity side effect.
- Dermatological urticarial eruption can be explained as itching with rashes.
Due to the adverse effects associated with the use of this chemical compound, medical experts take utmost care while prescribing and administering it in order to avoid the complications.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.