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Open Medicine

formerly Central European Journal of Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Darzynkiewicz, Zbigniew

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 1.221

CiteScore 2018: 1.01

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.329
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.479

ICV 2017: 152.94

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Volume 5, Issue 3


Volume 10 (2015)

Herbal remedies are the main etiologic factor in melanosis coli, a case series study

Taylan Kav / Yusuf Bayraktar
Published Online: 2010-04-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-009-0121-7


Melanosis coli is a brown to black discoloration of the colon mucosa usually associated with long-term ingestion of laxatives. However, melanosis coli can be found in patients with no history of laxative use. Regular use of herbal remedies could be the major source of anthranoid laxatives in such patients. We designed a prospective case series study to identify the clinical characteristics and etiology of melanosis coli in affected patients. This study took place in Ankara, Turkey, between 08/2005 and 11/2006. Patients with endoscopic diagnosis of melanosis coli were interviewed for demographical data and use of herbal remedies. A total of 380 colonoscopies were performed during this period. Melanosis coli was diagnosed endoscopically in 12 patients (3.17%), 11 of whom were found to have characteristic pigment-laden macrophages in histopathological examination. Herbal remedies were the main etiological factor in the development of melanosis coli in 10 out of 11 patients. Diffuse involvement was found in 2 patients who had a history of long-term use. In 8 patients, melanosis coli was located in the left side of the colon. Although melanosis coli is a harmless discoloration of colonic mucosa resulting from complementary or alternative medicine, we believe that this association with herbals was overlooked or not inquired in patients. Therefore, it should be emphasized that “natural” or “alternative” is not equal to “safe”.

Keywords: Melanosis coli; Herbal remedies; Laxatives; Sennosides; Etiology

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About the article

Published Online: 2010-04-09

Published in Print: 2010-06-01

Citation Information: Open Medicine, Volume 5, Issue 3, Pages 347–353, ISSN (Online) 2391-5463, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11536-009-0121-7.

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© 2010 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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