Barium sulfate is a radiopaque agent: an agent which does not allow X-rays to pass through it. It is used in the diagnosis of various problems.
When X-ray is taken after giving this drug, the part of the body containing this drug appear white on the film and helps in diagnosis by creating proper distinction between an organ and other tissues.
Barium sulfate can be given through oral or rectal route. Former route helps in viewing esophagus, stomach and parts of small intestine while the latter route is used to see small and large intestine.
This contrast agent is used under supervision of a medical professional and is available in the form of kit, suspension, cream, powder for suspension, enema, paste, tablet and liquid form.
As with initiation of any therapy, it is important for doctor and patient to have detailed discussion about the drug and it usage. The doctor should inform patient of all the merits and demerits of the use of this drug and patient should let the doctor know about any queries or doubts.
- Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case it is more likely that a drug be started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.
- Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition by which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
- Age specific analysis of patients helps in keeping a safety profile. Some drugs are suitable for one age group and lethal for the other; hence it is necessary to have assessment while keeping age in view. This drug is not associated with side effects in children or elderly patients when used in recommended dosage.
- Drug interactions may occur when multiple drugs are used together. It is important for the patient to avoid any new drug while being on this medication. Even the use of over the counter drugs should begin after consulting a doctor. The effects of tobacco, alcohol and certain foods should also be discussed with the physician.
- Other medical conditions may lead to severe effects on the body and may also decrease the efficacy and removal of drug. The patient should inform the doctor about these conditions in detailed medical history to avoid complications. The conditions which may result in more harm include asthma or any kind of allergies, dehydration, intestinal blockage and cystic fibrosis.
Barium sulfate is a contrast agent which is used under clinical settings, especially in radiology departments. It is given through oral or rectal route by an experienced medical professional after measuring the dose required. Dose is different for different patients and is determined by age, physical health and part of the body to be examined.
Barium sulfate is associated with some side effects, like any other drug, which are quite minimal. These effects are quite drastic in the case of allergies. Most of the effects vanish after discontinuation of drug but still it is important to consult the physician in case of any problem.