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Understanding Diarrhea -- the Basics

Medications and Other Substances

Many medications can cause diarrhea. Some of the most common include antacids containing magnesium, laxatives, digitalis, diuretics, a number of antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, cholesterol-lowering agents, lithium, theophylline, thyroid hormone, and colchicine.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer or cancers in the abdomen can damage the intestine and cause diarrhea.

Toxins such as insecticides, psychedelic mushrooms, and arsenic can cause diarrhea, and overuse of caffeine or alcohol may contribute to diarrhea.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on March 30, 2014

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