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Laxatives: replacing danthron

Abstract

Dorbanex (co-danthramer) was a popular laxative containing danthron, a colonic stimulant, and poloxamer, a surfactant wetting agent. It was withdrawn by the manufacturer last year after the finding that rats and mice given high doses of danthron for a prolonged period developed intestinal and liver tumours. This has not been reported in humans. We discuss here the choice of an alternative to co-danthramer - which may or may not have had any advantages over other stimulant laxatives. We are not discussing rectally administered laxatives or those used primarily for preparing the bowel for surgery, endoscopy, or radiology.

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