© 2003-17 Susan K. Mikota DVM and Donald C. Plumb, Pharm.D. Published by
Elephant Care International
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Chemistry – Sodium sulfate (hexahydrate form) occurs as large, colorless, odorless, crystals or white crystalline powder. It will effloresce in dry air and partially dissolve in its own water of crystallization at about 33°C. 1 gram is soluble in about 2.5 ml of water.
Storage/Stability/Compatibility – Store in tight containers at temperatures not exceeding 30°C.
Pharmacology – When given orally, sodium sulfate acts as a saline cathartic (draws water into small intestine). Sodium sulfate is considered to be the most effective saline cathartic on a molar basis. Sulfates also react with a variety of cations to form non-absorbable compounds, which may explain its efficacy in reducing copper loads and to reduce gut calcium.
Uses/Indications – Sodium sulfate is used as a saline cathartic, primarily in food animals.
Pharmacokinetics – Sodium sulfate is not appreciably absorbed from the GI tract and thereby acts a saline cathartic. Sodium may be absorbed however, after exchanging with other cations.
Contraindications/Precautions – Saline cathartics should not be used in dehydrated animals. Because of the drug’s high sodium content, it should be used with caution in patients with severe CHF or in patients otherwise susceptible to sodium retention.
Adverse Effects/Warnings – Diarrhea, cramping and flatulence may result. Electrolyte abnormalities may occur with chronic use.
As a cathartic:
a) 500 – 750 g PO as a 6% solution via stomach tube (Davis 1993)
Dosage Forms/Preparations/FDA Approval Status/Withholding Times –
Veterinary-Approved Products: None
Human-Approved Products: None
Sodium sulfate (hexahydrate) is available from chemical supply houses.