Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Gastrointestinal

Citrate Of Magnesia 

(magnesium citrate)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableClass: Gastrointestinal
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Treats constipation.

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Our bottom line

Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) works well if you need to really get things moving, but it's not a good medicine to manage chronic constipation.


  • Really strong laxative that gets things moving fast.
  • Can also be used to prep your bowel before you go for surgery or colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you specific instructions if you use it this way.


  • It doesn't work for everyone and some people feel it's a hassle.
  • Some brands are of Magnesium Citrate are tinted red and can change the color of your stool.
  • Can cause dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, and the feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • Magnesium Citrate contains magnesium which prevents certain medicines from working properly. Make sure you take your dose of Magnesium Citrate at least 2 hours before or after other medicines.
  • You can't take it for more than a week or so.
How it works

Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) is an osmotic and stimulant laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. It also causes waves of contractions (peristalsis) in your intestine muscles to push stool through.

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Side effect rates for Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)

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These are side effects of Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Age 60 or older
    • Malignancy
    • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
    • Taking medications that cause constipation

    Stop taking Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) and call your doctor right away if you have nausea, vomiting, pain or bulging in your belly that doesn't go away, have rectal bleeding, and no bowel movement after taking. These may be symptoms of a bowel blockage (bowel obstruction) which is serious.

Common concerns from people taking Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)

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  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
Kidneys and liver
  • Magnesium can build up in your blood if you have kidney problems. High magnesium levels can be dangerous and affect your heart, cause weakness and lower your calcium levels. Don't take Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) if you have problems with your kidneys or are taking other magnesium-containing medicines. or supplements..
  • Ask your doctor before taking Magnesium Citrate if you have kidney disease, are on a limited magnesium or sodium diet, have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.