Is BLISE really a mnemonic for the types of laxatives?

In an old episode of QI one of the panelists (Dr. Ben Goldacre) mentioned the mnemonic he uses to remember the laxative families is BLISE: Bulkers, Lubricants, Irritants, Softeners, and Explosives*. Google shows no mention of BLISE and laxatives together, so I’m doubting this is a widely taught thing.

Has anybody else heard of this acronym?

  • he mentions phosphate enemas and cholera as examples of the explosive variety.

I’m an RN and I’ve never heard this mnemonic.

I’ve never heard of it. But googling did turn it up in one place, At QI, the place you cited it at originally. here.

A little further googling did turn up some other really odd mnemonics for different categories of laxative, including one for the bulk forming laxatives, bran, psyllium preparations, methylcellulose, polycarbophil: “Bran on the Silo you must sell those in Poly’s car”. (WTF?)

Also one for the laxative meds Docusate & Mineral oil: “Mind surfing next to the dock”. (who uses mnemonics for only two items? Especially with the mnemonic being longer than the items?)

I quote another: " MAGNETsium is a toilet MAGNET. It pulls you towards the bathroom! (Think magnet also in terms of the osmotic pull, this will make you remember that magnesium is a osmotic agent)."

And they get even worse: “Dr, I like-to-lose (LAC-TU-LOSE) this amount of ammonia, please!”

Now this one makes more sense, though. SHEBS: Saline, Hyperosmotics, Emollients, Bulk-forming laxatives, & Stimulants

I suspect someone somewhere at a small, regional medical center came up with BLISE, passed it on to students and other staff there, where it enjoyed very local limited use for a time.

I never found Mnemonics very helpful any way. It was always easier for me to just use brute force to remember actual terms.

What is an “irritant” laxative? That sounds horrible.

They’re more generally referred to as “stimulant” laxatives, as they cause the intestinal muscles to contract, with predictable results. They include such meds as aloe, cascara, senna, bisacodyl, and castor oil.

I’m horribly amused at the use of “Explosives”

“Jamie (not you, Ambi) want big boom.”

Colon Blow!

Now THIS is a Straight Dope answer!

I’m a little ashamed of my “nope”.