CEN Case Reports

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 31–37 | Cite as

Severe hypermagnesemia induced by magnesium oxide ingestion: a case series

  • Hiroki YamaguchiEmail author
  • Hisaki Shimada
  • Kazuhiro Yoshita
  • Yutaka Tsubata
  • Kouzou Ikarashi
  • Tetsuo Morioka
  • Noriko Saito
  • Shinji Sakai
  • Ichiei Narita
Case Report


Hypermagnesemia is generally considered an exceptional iatrogenic condition usually caused by magnesium-containing cathartics. In particular, this condition often develops when magnesium-containing cathartics are administered to elderly patients with renal insufficiency or bowel movement dysfunction. Although magnesium oxide (MgO) is widely prescribed as a laxative, serum magnesium concentration has not been examined in most cases. In this report, we present the cases of four elderly patients with constipation and symptomatic hypermagnesemia caused by MgO ingestion, one of which had a lethal course. All of the patients were older than 65 years and with renal dysfunction. In addition, they had difficulties in expressing their symptoms because of cerebrovascular events or dementia. These cases suggest that hypermagnesemia caused by magnesium-containing cathartics is more likely to develop than previously recognized and that physicians should be aware that patients with chronic kidney disease and the elderly are at risk of hypermagnesemia on magnesium administration. We recommend serum magnesium monitoring for high-risk patients after initial prescription or dose increase.


Hypermagnesemia Magnesium oxide Constipation Chronic kidney disease Cathartic 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no conflict of interest exists.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Nephrology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine, Kidney CenterShinrakuen HospitalNiigataJapan
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Nephrology and RheumatologyNiigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental SciencesNiigataJapan

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