Castor Oil

What is Castor Oil

Castor oil is an oral stimulant laxative obtained from the seeds of Ricinus communis.

It has been used for the relief of constipation and for bowel preparation prior to surgery or diagnostic procedures; however, because of the intensity and severity of adverse reactions associated with use, other effective treatments are more commonly used.

There are reports of use to induce labor in women who are at term in pregnancy, however castor oil is contraindicated for use in pregnancy and safety and efficacy for labor induction cannot be confirmed.

Castor oil was initially marketed for use before 1962, which is when Congress passed the amended Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requiring that the FDA establish both safety and efficacy for all subsequently approved drugs. Castor oil is an unapproved marketed drug that has not been formally evaluated by the FDA. 


  • bowel preparation
  • constipation

For the relief of occasional constipation

NOTE: Castor oil has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and efficacy in the treatment of constipation.

Side Effects

  1. abdominal pain
  2. diarrhea
  3. nausea
  4. pelvic pain
  5. pruritus ani
  6. steatorrhea
  7. vomiting

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • abdominal pain
  • acute abdomen
  • appendicitis
  • breast-feeding
  • children
  • elective induction of labor
  • fecal impaction
  • geriatric
  • GI bleeding
  • GI obstruction
  • infants
  • labor
  • menstruation
  • nausea/vomiting
  • neonates
  • pregnancy


  • Acetaminophen; Hydrocodone
  • Alendronate; Cholecalciferol
  • Atropine; Difenoxin
  • Atropine; Diphenoxylate
  • Brompheniramine; Guaifenesin; Hydrocodone
  • Brompheniramine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Bumetanide
  • Calcium; Vitamin D
  • Carbinoxamine; Hydrocodone; Phenylephrine
  • Carbinoxamine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Chlorpheniramine; Guaifenesin; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone; Phenylephrine
  • Chlorpheniramine; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.
  • Dichlorphenamide
  • Diphenhydramine; Hydrocodone; Phenylephrine
  • Ergocalciferol, Vitamin D2
  • Ethacrynic Acid
  • Fat soluble vitamins
  • Fish Oil, Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Dietary Supplements)
  • Furosemide
  • Guaifenesin; Hydrocodone
  • Guaifenesin; Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Homatropine; Hydrocodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydrocodone; Ibuprofen
  • Hydrocodone; Phenylephrine
  • Hydrocodone; Potassium Guaiacolsulfonate
  • Hydrocodone; Potassium Guaiacolsulfonate; Pseudoephedrine
  • Hydrocodone; Pseudoephedrine
  • Lactulose
  • Loop diuretics
  • Phytonadione, Vitamin K1
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Polyethylene Glycol; Electrolytes
  • Polyethylene Glycol; Electrolytes; Ascorbic Acid
  • Polyethylene Glycol; Electrolytes; Bisacodyl
  • Torsemide
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E

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