Liquid paraffin (drug)
|Chemical and physical data|
Medicinal liquid paraffin, also known as paraffinum liquidum, is a very highly refined mineral oil used in cosmetics and for medical purposes. This is a UK definition (British Pharmacopoeia) and the term may have different uses in other countries. The cosmetic or medicinal liquid paraffin should not be confused with the paraffin (or kerosene) used as a fuel.
The term paraffinum perliquidum is sometimes used to denote light liquid paraffin. Conversely, the term paraffinum subliquidum is sometimes used to denote a thicker (more viscous/oily) mineral oil.
Usage and side effects
Liquid paraffin is considered to have a limited usefulness as an occasional laxative, but is unsuitable for regular use as it can seep from the anus and cause irritation. It can also interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, be absorbed into the intestinal wall, and may cause foreign-body granulomatous reactions. If it enters the lungs, it can cause lipoid pneumonia.
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