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Although intestinal obstruction from hygroscopic gum laxatives is a condition that has been observed many times, no record of esophageal obstruction from such a cause has been found in the recent literature. The widespread use of gum laxatives and the potential seriousness of esophageal obstruction caused by such a preparation warrant the report of the following case:
G. S., a man, aged 47, had been suffering from constipation for many years. He had found Saraka a beneficial laxative and had been taking this proprietary drug from three to four times a week for seven years. The company that markets the preparation directs that from 1 to 2 drachms of Saraka be taken after meals and washed down with sufficient water, or that the laxative be ingested with stewed fruit. The patient, however, was accustomed to take a much larger quantity of the saraka than directed. He would place a handful
Goldman JL. ESOPHAGEAL OBSTRUCTION FROM A HYGROSCOPIC GUM LAXATIVE (SARAKA). JAMA. 1937;108(17):1408-1409. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.92780170001010