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Magnesium sulfate sources, health risks

Saturday, October 07, 2017 by

The therapeutic and negative effects of magnesium sulfate depend on its administration. Most people tolerate the medicine pretty well but it can cause persistent and serious side effects in rare cases. Magnesium sulfate is prescribed as an anticonvulsant and can be used to replenish electrolytes among patients suffering from eclampsia. When taken externally (as a bath salt, for example), it does not appear to have any side effect. However, there can be complications when taken as a laxative or as an injection. To avoid any difficulties, it is highly recommended that patients consult with their medical practitioner about their intentions to use magnesium sulfate before taking it.

In this introduction, we will be focusing on the unwanted adverse effects taking magnesium sulfate may have when ingested.

Harmful effects that can be caused by magnesium sulfate

The medicine can provoke hypotension when taken in rapid, high amounts. This is because of its vasodilatory properties. When a person’s magnesium levels go over three or four mEq/l (milliequivalents per liter), there is a significantly increased risk of a central nervous depression. This can be manifested as confusion, disorientation, hypothermia, flaccid paralysis, and lethargy, among other things. There are also cases wherein a patient may undergo cardiovascular collapse.

Magnesium serum levels that exceed 11 or 13 mEq/l can induce respiratory depression or heart block. These negative side effects, however, can be antagonized with intravenous calcium.

Pregnant women should not take magnesium sulfate internally. Doing so may cause developmental changes in the fetus, including but not limited to dental enamel hypoplasia or hypocalcemia.

Therapeutic doses of magnesium sulfate for eclampsia are not recorded to have any side effects.

Body systems harmed by magnesium sulfate

Magnesium sulfate, when taken in excess, can damage the muscular system. People who ingest too much of the medicine can lose function in their limbs or have difficulties standing. There is also evidence to suggest that magnesium sulfate can trigger respiratory problems, particularly as blood pressure levels drop rapidly.

The heart is likewise affected by excessive amounts of magnesium sulfate.

Where to learn more


Magnesium sulfate is a compound that is used to treat eclampsia. It can be taken externally or internally. Those opting to ingest it run the risk of suffering severe reactions, including hypotension.

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