Liquid paraffin, also known as liquid paraffin or Russian mineral oil, is a highly refined mineral oil used in cosmetics and medicine. Cosmetic or medicinal liquid paraffin should not be confused with paraffin (or kerosene) used as fuel. It is a transparent, colorless, almost odorless and oily liquid that is composed of saturated hydrocarbons derived from petroleum.
The term paraffin perliquidum is sometimes used to denote light liquid paraffin, while the term paraffin subliquidum is sometimes used to denote a thicker mineral oil.
Liquid paraffin is used primarily as a pediatric laxative in medicine and is a popular treatment for constipation and encopresis. Due to its ease of titration, it is convenient to synthesize the drug. It acts primarily as a stool lubricant and therefore is not associated with abdominal cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, electrolyte disturbances, or tolerance over prolonged periods of use, side effects that osmotic and stimulant laxatives often generate (however, some posts suggest that these may still occur).
The drug works by softening the stool and coating the intestine with an oily film. Because of this, it reduces pain caused by certain conditions such as hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids). These traits make the drug ideal for chronic constipation and infantile encopresis when large doses or prolonged use are needed.
No complete consensus has been reached on the drug’s safety for children. While the drug is widely accepted for treating childhood constipation in North America and Australia, the drug is used much less in the UK. The drug is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society for Gastroenterology and Nutrition, and the latter organization describes it as the first choice for treating pediatric constipation.
It is suggested that the drug never be used in cases where the patient is neurologically impaired or has potential swallowing dysfunction due to possible respiratory complications. Lipoid pneumonia due to mineral oil aspiration is, therefore, a recognized serious complication of this drug, and there is a need for increased awareness among caregivers about the potential dangers of improper use of mineral oil. Some even say that it should never be used with children because of this risk.
Liquid paraffin is also used in combination with magnesium as an osmotic laxative, sold under the trade name Mil-Par (among others).
Also, it can be used as a release agent, binder, FG, or lubricant in capsules and tablets.