How long does it take for polyethylene glycol 3350 to work?

TriLyte

PATIENT INFORMATION

Instructions for Patient:

  1. TriLyte® with flavor packs (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) can be used with or without the addition of one flavor pack.
    1. If you prefer an unflavored solution, discard the flavor packs and proceed to step 5.
    2. If you prefer a flavored solution, proceed to step 2.
  2. Choose one of the flavor packs.
  3. Tear open the selected flavor pack at the indicated marking and pour the contents into the bottle BEFORE adding any water. Discard the unused flavor packs.
  4. SHAKE WELL to incorporate flavoring into the powder.
  5. Add tap water to the top of the FILL line marked 4 liters. Recap tightly and SHAKE WELL until the powder has completely dissolved. No additional ingredients should be added to the solution.
  6. For best results, no solid food should be consumed for the 3 to 4 hour period before drinking the solution, but in no case should solid food be eaten within two hours of taking TriLyte® with flavor packs (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) .
  7. Adults: Drink one 8 ounce (240 mL) cup of the solution rapidly every 10 minutes. Continue drinking until the watery stool is clear and free of solid matter. This usually requires at least 3 liters. Pediatric Patients (aged 6 months or greater): Drink at a rate of 25 mL/kg/hour. A loose watery bowel movement should result in approximately one hour. Continue drinking until the watery stool is clear and free of solid matter.

NOTE: The solution is more palatable if chilled in the refrigerator before drinking. However, chilled solution is not recommended for infants. Keep reconstituted solution refrigerated. Use within 48 hours. Discard unused portion.

Patient Product Information

What is TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs?

TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs is a solution (PEG lavage) that cleanses the bowel in preparation for a colonoscopy.

What flavors are available with TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs?

TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs features five flavors-Lemon Lime, Orange, Pineapple, Cherry and Citrus Berry.

How should I take TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs?

TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs should be taken in an eight-ounce glass every 10 minutes and drunk rapidly (not in small sips) according to your physician’s instructions.

How long does it take to work?

TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs begins to work in about an hour. The whole process takes approximately four to six hours.

Can children take TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs?

Yes, children six months and older can take the solution according to the physician’s instructions.

What are the side effects of TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs?

Nausea, abdominal fullness, and bloating occur in up to 50% of patients. Abdominal cramps, vomiting and anal irritation occur less frequently. Side effects are temporary and subside quickly.

As with all polyethylene glycol (PEG) lavages, nausea, abdominal fullness, and bloating are the most common adverse reactions, occurring in up to 50% of patients. Oral medication administered within 1 hour of the start of administration of TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs may be flushed from the gastrointestinal tract and not absorbed.

Ask your healthcare professional whether TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs is right for you. For complete prescribing information for TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs, visit www.yourcolonhealth.com or www.trilyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) .com.

How do I prepare the solution?

The solution can be used with or without flavor packs. The flavor packs are designed to make the solution taste better. Prepare the solution as follows:

  1. To add flavor, tear open one flavor pack at the indicated marking and pour contents into the bottle BEFORE adding water. Discard unused flavor packs.
  2. SHAKE WELL to incorporate flavoring into the powder.
  3. Add LUKEWARM tap water to the top of the FILL line marked 4 liters.
  4. Replace cap tightly and SHAKE WELL until all ingredients have dissolved.
  5. No additional ingredients, for example, flavorings, should be added to the solution.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

If you are NOT using a flavor pack, omit steps 1 and 2 above.

Lukewarm tap water should be used to prepare the solution. After the solution is mixed, it can be chilled in the refrig- erator to make it more pleasant to drink. It is NOT recommended that a chilled solution be given to infants. The solu- tion should be used within 48 hours of mixing. Discard any unused portions.

If you have any questions, talk to your healthcare professional. He or she is always the best source of information and advice.

As with all polyethylene glycol (PEG) lavages, nausea, abdominal fullness, and bloating are the most common adverse reactions, occurring in up to 50% of patients. Oral medication administered within 1 hour of the start of administration of TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs may be flushed from the gastrointestinal tract and not absorbed.

Ask your healthcare professional whether TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs is right for you.

For complete prescribing information for TriLyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) with flavor packs, visit www.yourcolonhealth.com or www.trilyte (peg-3350, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and potassium chloride) .com.

GoLytely

GoLYTELY® (Go-lite-ly)
(PEG-3350 and Electrolytes) for Oral Solution

Read this Medication Guide before you start taking GoLYTELY. This information does not take the place of talking with your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment.

What is the most important information I should know about GoLYTELY?

GoLYTELY and other osmotic bowel preparations can cause serious side effects, including:GoLYTELY and other osmotic bowel preparations can cause serious side effects, including:
Serious loss of body fluid (dehydration) and changes in blood salts (electrolytes) in your blood.
These changes can cause:

  • abnormal heartbeats that can cause death
  • seizures This can happen even if you have never had a seizure.
  • kidney problems

Your chance of having fluid loss and changes in body salts with GoLYTELY is higher if you:

  • have heart problems
  • have kidney problems
  • take water pills or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms of a loss of too much body fluid (dehydration) while taking GoLYTELY:

  • vomiting that prevents you from keeping down the solution
  • dizziness
  • urinating less often than normal
  • headache

See Section “What are the possible side effects of GoLYTELY” for more information about side effects.

What is GoLYTELY?

GoLYTELY is a prescription medicine used by adults to clean the colon before a colonoscopy or barium enema X-ray examination. GoLYTELY cleans your colon by causing you to have diarrhea. Cleaning your colon helps your healthcare provider see the inside of your colon more clearly during your colonoscopy.

It is not known if GoLYTELY is safe and effective in children.

Who should not take GoLYTELY

Do not take GoLYTELY if your heathcare provider has told you that you have:

  • a blockage in your bowel (obstruction)
  • an opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine (bowel perforation)
  • problems with food and fluid emptying from your stomach (gastric retention)
  • a very dilated intestine (toxic megacolon)
  • an allergy to any of the ingredients in GoLYTELY. See the end of this leaflet for a complete list of ingredients in GoLYTELY.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking GoLYTELY?

Before you take GoLYTELY, tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • have heart problems
  • have stomach or bowel problems
  • have ulcerative colitis
  • have problems with swallowing or gastric reflux
  • have a history of seizures
  • are withdrawing from drinking alcohol
  • have a low blood salt (sodium) level
  • have kidney problems
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant. It is not known if GoLYTELY will harm your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if GoLYTELY passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will take GoLYTELY while breastfeeding.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

GoLYTELY may affect how other medicines work. Medicines taken by mouth may not be absorbed properly when taken within 1 hour before the start of GoLYTELY.

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take:

  • medicines for blood pressure or heart problems
  • medicines for kidney problems
  • medicines for seizures
  • water pills (diuretics)
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAID) pain medicines
  • laxatives

Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of these medicines if you are not sure if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

How should I take GoLYTELY?

You must read, understand, and follow these instructions to take GoLYTELY the right way.

  • Take GoLYTELY exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to take it.
  • Drink 240 mL (8 oz.) every 10 minutes. Rapid drinking of each portion is better that drinking small amounts.
  • The first bowel movement should occur approximately one hour after you start drinking the solution.
  • You may experience some abdominal bloating and distention before the bowels start to move. If severe discomfort or distention occur, stop drinking temporarily or drink each portion at longer intervals until the discomfort goes away.
  • Continue drinking until the watery stool is clear and free of solid matter. This usually requires 3 liters and it is best to drink all of the solution.
  • Do not take undissolved GoLYTELY powder that has not been mixed with water (diluted), it may increase your risk of nausea, vomiting and fluid loss (dehydration).
  • Each jug of GoLYTELY must be reconstituted with water (diluted) to 1 gallon total volume before drinking.
  • Do not take other laxatives while taking GoLYTELY.
  • Do not eat solid foods on the day before your colonoscopy and until after your colonoscopy. Drink only clear liquids:
    • the day before your colonoscopy
    • while taking GoLYTELY
    • after taking GoLYTELY until 2 hours before your colonoscopy
  • Do not eat or drink anything 2 hours before your colonoscopy.
  • Drink clear liquids before, during, and after you take GoLYTELY to avoid fluid loss (dehydrated). Examples of clear liquids are:
    • water
    • clear fruit juices without pulp including apple, white grape, or white cranberry
    • strained limeade or lemonade
    • coffee or tea (Do not use any dairy or non-dairy creamer)
    • clear broth
    • clear soda
    • gelatin (without added fruit or topping)
    • popsicles without pieces of fruit or fruit pulp

Do not eat or drink anything colored red or purple.

What are the possible side effects of GoLYTELY?

GoLYTELY can cause serious side effects, including:

  • See Section “What is the most important information I should know about GoLYTELY?”
  • changes in certain blood tests. Your healthcare provider may do blood tests after you take GoLYTELY to check your blood for changes. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of too much fluid loss, including:
    • vomiting
    • nausea
    • bloating
    • dizziness
    • stomach (abdominal) cramping
    • headache
    • urinate less than usual
    • trouble drinking clear liquid
  • heart problems. GoLYTELY may cause irregular heartbeats.
  • seizures
  • ulcers of the bowel or bowel problems (ischemic colitis). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have severe stomach-area (abdomen) pain or rectal bleeding.

The most common side effects of GoLYTELY include:

  • nausea
  • stomach (abdominal) fullness
  • bloating
  • stomach (abdominal) cramps
  • vomiting
  • anal irritation

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of GoLYTELY. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

How should I store GoLYTELY?

  • Store GoLYTELY at room temperature, between 59ºF to 86°F (15ºC to 30°C).

Keep GoLYTELY and all medicines out of the reach of children.

General information about the safe and effective use of GoLYTELY.

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use GoLYTELY for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give GoLYTELY to other people, even if they are going to have the same procedure you are. It may harm them.

This Medication Guide summarizes important information about GoLYTELY. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for information that is written for healthcare professionals.

For more information, go to www.braintreelabs.com or call 1-800-874-6756.

What are the ingredients in GoLYTELY?

Active ingredients: polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride.

Inactive ingredients: Pineapple Flavored GoLYTELY only (natural and artificial pineapple flavor powder, maltodextrin, gum arabic, sodium saccharin, silicon dioxide)

Braintree Laboratories, Inc.
Braintree, MA 02185, USA

This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

PEG-3350 with Electolytes

Generic Name: polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution (pall ee ETH il een GLYE kol ee LEK troe lyte)
Brand Name: Colyte with Flavor Packs, GaviLyte-C, GoLYTELY, MoviPrep, NuLYTELY Orange, NuLYTELY with Flavor Packs, PEG-3350 with Electolytes, Plenvu, TriLyte with Flavor Packs

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jun 25, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

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What is PEG-3350 with Electolytes?

PEG-3350 with Electolytes is a laxative solution that stimulates bowel movements. This medication also contains minerals to replace electrolytes that are passed from the body in the stool.

PEG-3350 with Electolytes is used to clean the bowel before colonoscopy, a barium x-ray, or other intestinal procedures.

PEG-3350 with Electolytes may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not use PEG-3350 with Electolytes if you have a perforated bowel, a bowel obstruction or severe constipation, or colitis or toxic megacolon. PEG-3350 with Electolytes can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects in people with these conditions.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol or any other electrolyte solutions (such as Pedialyte or Gatorade), or if you have:

  • a perforated bowel;

  • a bowel obstruction or severe constipation; or

  • colitis or toxic megacolon.

PEG-3350 with Electolytes can cause dangerous or life-threatening side effects in people with these conditions.

People with eating disorders (such as anorexia or bulimia) should not use this medicine without the advice of a doctor.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • heart problems, or a heart attack;

  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or sodium in your blood);

  • kidney disease;

  • a seizure;

  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcerative colitis, or other stomach or bowel disorder;

  • trouble swallowing, aspiration (accidentally inhaling food or drink);

  • a genetic enzyme deficiency called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency; or

  • a drug or alcohol addiction.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

This medicine may contain phenylalanine. Talk to your doctor before using if you have phenylketonuria (PKU).

How should I take PEG-3350 with Electolytes?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Polyethylene glycol electrolyte powder must be mixed with water into a solution before using it. Do not add any flavorings such as sugar, honey, artificial sweetener, fruit juices, or other beverages.

Shake the mixture well just before you measure a dose. Drink PEG-3350 with Electolytes in the exact portions at the exact time intervals prescribed by your doctor.

This medicine comes with instructions about when and what to eat or drink on your first day of treatment. Each brand may have different instructions.

Do not drink PEG-3350 with Electolytes if it has been less than 1 hour since you last ate solid food. For best results, take the medicine 2 to 4 hours after you last ate.

The first watery stool should appear within 1 hour after you start drinking PEG-3350 with Electolytes. Keep taking the medicine until you have completed all doses prescribed by your doctor.

Drink plenty of clear liquids (water, broth, black coffee, tea, clear soda) before, during, and after you take this medicine. Avoid foods and beverages that contain pulp or are red or purple in color. You may also eat popsicles (not fruit bars or fudge bars) or gelatin without fruit pieces or toppings.

Do not eat or drink anything within 2 hours before your colonoscopy or other medical test.

Store the unmixed powder at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Store the mixed solution in a refrigerator in an upright position.

Throw away any PEG-3350 with Electolytes you have not used within 24 to 48 hours after it was mixed (follow directions for your specific brand of this medicine).

What happens if I miss a dose?

Talk to your doctor if you cannot drink all of the solution prescribed for you. Your test or procedure may need to be rescheduled if your bowel is not completely cleansed.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking PEG-3350 with Electolytes?

Avoid taking other medications, vitamins, or mineral supplements within 1 hour before drinking PEG-3350 with Electolytes. A bowel cleansing can make it harder for your body to absorb other medicines you take by mouth.

Do not use other laxatives while using PEG-3350 with Electolytes unless your doctor has told you to.

PEG-3350 with Electolytes side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • no bowel movement within 2 hours after use;

  • vomiting;

  • dizziness, feeling like you might pass out;

  • little or no urination;

  • a seizure; or

  • signs of an electrolyte imbalance–increased thirst or urination, dry mouth, confusion, constipation, muscle pain or weakness, leg cramps, irregular heartbeats, tingly feeling.

You may need to drink the liquid more slowly, or stop using it for a short time if you have certain side effects. Call your doctor for instructions if you have:

  • gagging, choking, severe stomach pain or bloating;

  • nausea, vomiting, headache, trouble drinking liquids, little or no urinating; or

  • fever, sudden or severe stomach pain, severe diarrhea, rectal bleeding or bright red bowel movements.

Common side effects may include:

  • vomiting, stomach pain, indigestion, bloating;

  • rectal pain or irritation;

  • hunger, thirst, mild nausea;

  • trouble sleeping; or

  • dizziness, chills.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect PEG-3350 with Electolytes?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • heart or blood pressure medication;

  • a diuretic or “water pill”;

  • medicine to treat anxiety, depression, or mental illness;

  • medications to treat kidney problems or low sodium levels (hyponatremia);

  • seizure medication; or

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)–aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect PEG-3350 with Electolytes, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.02.

Medical Disclaimer

More about PEG-3350 with Electolytes (polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes)

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  • Drug class: laxatives

Consumer resources

Other brands: Plenvu, GoLYTELY, GaviLyte-N, MoviPrep, … +6 more

Professional resources

  • PEG-3350, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Bicarbonate and Potassium Chloride (FDA)

Related treatment guides

  • Bowel Preparation
  • Constipation, Chronic
  • Gastrointestinal Decontamination

Polyethylene Glycol 3350 With Electrolytes

Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution is a powder medicine that must be mixed with water before using it. Follow all directions on your medicine label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not add any flavorings to this medicine, such as sugar, honey, artificial sweetener, fruit juices, or other beverages.

Do not take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution if it has been less than 1 hour since you last ate solid food. For best results, take the medicine 2 to 4 hours after you last ate.

Store unmixed medicine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Store the mixed medicine in a refrigerator in an upright position.

Drink plenty of clear liquids (such as water, broth, black coffee, tea, clear soda) before, during, and after your treatment. Avoid foods and beverages that contain pulp or are red or purple in color. You may also eat popsicles (not fruit bars or fudge bars) or gelatin without fruit pieces or toppings.

This medicine comes with instructions about when and what to eat or drink on your first day of treatment. Each brand may have different instructions.

Shake the liquid well just before you measure a dose. Drink this medicine in the exact portions at the exact time intervals prescribed by your doctor.

The usual dose of the medication is 8 ounces every 10 to 15 minutes. Drink each portion as quickly as possible, rather than sipping it slowly. The first watery stool should appear within 1 hour after you start drinking polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution.

Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution will produce watery diarrhea. Keep taking the medicine until your stool is watery and clear. In most cases, at least 3 liters of polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution is needed for the full effect.

Throw away any polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution you have not used within 24 to 48 hours after it was mixed (follow directions for your specific brand of this medicine).

Do not eat or drink anything within 2 hours before your medical test.

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Talk to your doctor if you cannot drink all of the medication prescribed for you. Your test or procedure may need to be rescheduled if your bowel is not completely cleansed.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc.

Latest Update: 11/9/2018, Version: 4.02

Is MiraLAX the next Vioxx?

Getting mad or forgetful after taking a laxative? Well, according to the US Food and Drug Administration that’s exactly what certain best-selling laxatives can do to you.

Back in December of 2011, the FDA placed MiraLAX — a polyethylene glycol-containing blockbuster drug marketed by Merck & Co — on its Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) in connection to “neuropsychiatric events.”

Besides MiraLAX, this warning also applies to Movicol, Dulcolax, Colyte, Colovage, Co-Lav, Clensz-Lyte, ClearLax, GoLYTELY, GaviLyte C, GlycoLax, Go-Evac, GlycoPrep, E-Z-Em Fortrans, Halflytely, Lax-a-Day, LaxLyte, MoviPrep, Macrogol, NuLytely, OCL, Peg-Lyte, Prep Lyte, Softlax, TriLyte, and all other brands with Polyethylene Glycol 3350 (PEG for short) as their active ingredient. The “3350” qualifier refers to the molecular weight of this particular variant of PEG.

The cutout from the MiraLAX-related posting on the FDA’s website .

Polyethylene glycol is made by stringing together molecules of ethylene glycol into a large polymer chain, hence the prefix poly-, Greek for many. On its own, ethylene glycol is used in automotive antifreeze and brake fluid. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it is an extremely toxic substance:

“Ethylene glycol is chemically broken down in the body into toxic compounds. It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system (CNS), then the heart, and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of sufficient amounts can be fatal.”

The term “neuropsychiatric events” in the FDA’s safety alert refers to neurologic disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems such as autism, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and similar others . These conditions result from PEG’s direct (through cellular damage) and indirect (through malnutrition of essential micronutrients) neurotoxicity. No surprise there considering the quotation above.

Lead, mercury, and arsenic are some of the best known neurotoxins. So are snake venom, curare, botulinum, and tetanus. PEG is more like lead or mercury — slow-acting, insidious, and difficult to pin down conclusively onto a variety of “slow-brewing” neurological disorders.

In addition to neurotoxicity, the following serious complications have been associated with polyethylene glycol-containing laxatives:

  • Nephrotoxicity: PEG has been connected to nephrotoxicity — an euphemism for kidney damage — when used as a drug solvent or when applied to skin . For these reasons PEG is contraindicated for patients with kidney disease. This particular “side effect” is most likely related to the hydrolyzed (separated in water solution) molecules of ethylene glycol.

  • Urticaria: PEG may cause allergy-related hives (urticaria) — raised red welts on the surface of the skin. Children are particularly susceptible to hives, and face a grave risk of anaphylaxis — a life-threatening allergic reaction that may develop within minutes or even seconds after ingesting a PEG-containing laxative. Links between PEG and urticaria have been documented as far back as 1991 .

  • Esophageal perforations: Also known as Mallory-Weiss tear, esophageal perforations associated with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution have been reported as far back as 1991. These tears and related bleedings may occur in the mucus membrane of the lower part of the esophagus, or upper part of the stomach .

    This particular side effect isn’t directly related to MiraLAX which is taken in smaller doses, but the potential is always there, particularly among young children or patients with GI tract obstruction that may initially manifest itself as constipation.

  • Encopresis. The involuntary passage of stools in toilet trained children is one of the nastiest side effects of taking PEG-containing laxatives. The same condition may affect adults, and for the same reasons — a continuous leakage of semi-formed stools from the large intestine, an outcome of PEG “working” too well.

All of the “collateral damage” from PEG shouldn’t surprise anyone, least of all seasoned chemists, pharmacists, and medical doctors. This industrial chemical is manufactured by The Dow Chemical Company for use in wood treatments, paints, coatings, rubber, textiles, detergents, and toilet bowl cleaners .

The stock (© iStockphoto LP) illustration from the cover page of the Carbowax™ product brochure by The Dow Chemical Company, a leading manufacturer of industrial PEGs.

Technically, PEG is an osmotic laxative. Because of this property, it blocks the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. Its extended use may result in severe malnutrition-related disorders, particularly in young children and older adults. Autism is one such disorder. It may take only two weeks of an acute iron or iodine deficiency to cause autism in a child younger than two.

The same properties of PEG that make it an excellent toilet bowl cleaner, also wipe clean the mucosal membrane of the large intestine, leaving the colon unprotected and cancer-prone, a situation similar to a dry mouth. On top of the mucosal membrane damage, a high osmotic gradient of polyethylene glycol solution decimates intestinal bacteria — single cell organisms — just as mercilessly as antibacterial soaps, antibiotics, or heavy metals.

The resulting dearth of intestinal bacteria is called dysbiosis in the United States, and dysbacteriosis in the rest of the world. Dysbiosis reduces primary immunity, causes a broad range of neurological and blood disorders, makes occasional constipation chronic and more severe, ensures lifelong dependence on laxatives, and is behind ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and colorectal cancer.

Dysbiosis is also behind premature aging, which is self-evident in the early graying of the hairs, type 2 diabetes, facial wrinkles, patchy skin, weak nails, tooth loss, arthritis, and osteoporosis. These particular pathologies may be related to the deficiency of biotin (vitamin H) and vitamin K, which are, under normal circumstances, synthesized by the healthy intestinal flora. The PEG’s blocking effect on the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the small and large intestine also plays a role.

When PEG is combined with a high fiber diet — a standard remedy for dysbiosis — problems double up because indigestible fiber tends to enlarge stools. In turn, large stools lead to habitual straining — a primary cause of enlarged hemorrhoids, anorectal nerve damage, anal fissures, diverticular disease, fecal obstruction, and genitourinary disorders such as rectocele — a protrusion of the rectovaginal wall inside the vagina.

A single recommended dose of MiraLAX contains 17 grams of pharmaceutical grade PEG powder , a humongous amount of what is otherwise an industrial-strength anti-fungicide, insecticide, and germicide strong enough to preserve wood beams, railroad ties, and electrical poles from fungi, insects, and bacteria practically forever. It works by displacing water in wood, which makes it resistant to warping and rotting.

This is kind of ironic — the same people who will go out of their way to “eat organic” in order to avoid traces — we are talking micrograms — of fungicides, insecticides, and germicides in their foods, will then go on and ingest a heaping tablespoon of polyethylene glycol-containing laxative without blinking an eye. Or give it to their children…

Despite all of its well-established risks, MiraLAX has never been tested for safety in pregnant women and children:

“Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established. ” “Animal reproductive studies have not been performed with Polyethylene Glycol 3350 NF. It is also not known whether Polyethylene Glycol 3350 NF can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman, or can affect reproductive capacity…”

For these and other prudent reasons MiraLAX was approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 1999 only for use by adults, and for no longer than 7 days. In spite of this clear and unambiguous rule, pediatricians routinely prescribe PEG-containing laxatives to children of all ages anyway. Equally disturbing, many doctors encourage adults and children alike to take them indefinitely, even though the label clearly states: “Use no more than 7 days.”

The cutout from the MiraLAX product label .

A citizen petition “To Investigate Polyethylene Glycol 3350 Product Safety for Use with Pediatric Patients” was filed with the U.S. Federal Drug Administration on June 6, 2012. Here is what it said:

“As of March 2012, the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System showed 2257 reported adverse events related (in any way) to PEG products – up from 7 in 2001. Included in the adverse events reported are serious kidney, urinary, bowel, blood, skin, and neuropsychiatric symptoms – and at least 3 children’s deaths. ”

Keep in mind that only a tiny percentage — around 1% — of serious side effects ever get reported to the FDA . It’s probably even less with MiraLAX and its clones — unlike with prescription drugs, making direct connections with PEG side effects is far more challenging because so many of them aren’t immediate; or because nobody expects to encounter severe complications from a “mere” over-the-counter laxative; or because small children can’t communicate their sufferings in words; or because it’s so hard to identify whodunit among adults who are already taking a daily cocktail of other potent drugs; or because these outcomes are falsely blamed on genetics, environment, and old age.

The use of laxatives is particularly common throughout pregnancy. It’s entirely possible that ethylene glycol molecules penetrate the placenta and cause neurological damage in fetuses. Infants may be equally affected via breast milk, or milk supply may be poor quality or too low. And that’s on top of the maternal malnutrition and neurological damages I’ve described above.

Notably, MiraLAX was introduced back in 1999 , about the same time the epidemic of autism began sweeping across the United States in earnest. It doesn’t take a PhD in epidemiology to infer a possible connection between these two happenings.

If anyone you know is pregnant or nursing, please let them know about the possible role of polyethylene glycol-containing laxatives in autism, postpartum depression, and other neurologic disorders. The connection between these conditions and MiraLAX has never been proven conclusively because conducting this kind of clinical research is illegal. Still, as a lawyer might say, “the preponderance of the evidence is overwhelming,” so you are better off being safe now than sorry later, particularly with something as easily avoidable as PEG-containing laxatives.

Laxatives with polyethylene glycol are also a potential menace to seniors who rely on them to alleviate medication-related constipation — a common side effect of taking multiple prescription drugs for depression, insomnia, and hypertension.

Please forward a link to this page to your parents and grandparents, so they can protect themselves from memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease made eerily possible by taking polyethylene glycol-containing laxatives.

Unfortunately, despite all of the above issues and the FDA’s published warning related to polyethylene glycol safety, you still won’t find a hint of concern in MirLAX’s patient literature. All it says: “MiraLAX® is safe and effective – and available without a prescription.”

The cutout from “What Is MiraLAX” product brochure .

How can Merck get away claiming that MiraLAX is “safe” and “without harsh side effects?” Well, just like it did with Vioxx, another presumably “safe” miracle drug . Following this well established pattern, Merck will continue milking MiraLAX’s franchise for as long as it can. When the time will finally arrive to recall it, Merck’s army of lawyers will keep fighting its victims until they’ll settle en masse for pennies on the dollar . It’s a cost of doing business, nothing personal…

But this ugly story doesn’t end with laxatives. It actually gets even uglier — food grade polyethylene glycol (under the Carbowax Sentry trade name) is commonly added to chewing gums, table-top sweeteners, and energy drinks. It is also used as a base in solid and liquid soaps, shampoos, bath and shower gels; body and face creams and lotions; toothpastes, ointments and suppositories; as a tablet binder in drugs and supplements; as a lubricant in vaginal gels and eye drops; and as a solvent in cough medicines and elixirs. Many of those products are used by children of all ages .

Stock (© Inmagine, © Corbis/Photosearch) illustrations from the page 5 and page 9 of the Carbowax™ Sentry™ product brochure by The Dow Chemical Company. Deadly effective, I must say…

Please alert your family, friends, and colleagues with young children about the dangers of polyethylene glycol in their foods and medicines via your Facebook page, Twitter feed, e-mail, website, or blog.

If you think you or anyone under your care was harmed by taking PEG-containing laxatives, you may report your concerns to the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program by following this link .

How to wean yourself off MiraLAX?

For an in-depth look at all constipation-related issues, check out the following pages:

” Constipation Unplugged (How to overcome chronic and intermittent constipation). Explains the physiology of constipation and irregularity. A must-read for medical professionals.

” Bull’s S..t In The China Shop. Explains why and how high-fiber diets and fiber laxatives contribute to chronic constipation. If you think that by accusing everybody’s favorite “health food” of treason, I, somehow, lost my marbles, reading this instructive page will definitely sober you up.

” Overcoming Fiber Dependence. PEG action is somewhat similar to the action of soluble fiber. Since most people who are taking PEG-based laxatives also consume a lot of fiber, this article is an essential read.

” Restoring Natural Bowel Movements. If your body is still free of irreversible colorectal damage, you should be able to do what our ancestors have done for millennia — move bowels without a second thought or “helping hand” from the likes of MiraLAX.

” Dysbacteriosis (Dysbiosis). This page is a must-read for all PEG users unless you don’t mind getting premature gray hair, a feeble mind, absent memory, tremulous hands, withered skin, hard-to-stop bleedings, and impaired immunity. (Hint: all of these conditions are related to compromised intestinal flora.)

” Restoring Anorectal Sensitivity. A bowel movement is always preceded by the unmistakable urge. If you are chronically constipated, it means that somewhere along the line you’ve mastered the dubious art of urge suppression. This article may help you to un-master it.

” Frequently Asked Questions about all kinds of “constipations,” about what to eat and what not, and assorted myths that get people hooked up on laxatives for life if you are an optimist, or ‘until death’ if you are not.

These are the must-read pages if you are planning to have a baby, or are raising one already:

” Why Is My Infant Constipated?

” Why Is My Toddler Suddenly Constipated?

” What Are the Causes Of Constipation In Older Children?

” What Is the Connection Between Infant Constipation, Diarrhea, and Autism?

Please read these pages before emailing me a teary “help me” plea. As a medical writer, I can write about these subjects freely, but I can’t help your child directly because doing so over email is irresponsible, let alone outright illegal for anyone but a state-licensed pediatrician.

And don’t ever forget that the cases of congenital constipation are extremely rare. If healthy infants develop it, it isn’t their fault, but yours and, in many cases, of their doctors. If you let this problem fester unresolved until they “grow out if it,” you and your child may end up paying a heavy price for it later.

Keep in mind that none of the supplements recommended on this site are appropriate for infants and children with the exception of Hydro-C, and along with these important caveats: Hydro-C for children. Consult your doctors before giving Hydro-C to your child. If they plead ignorance or indifference, then ask them the following question:

“Doctor, knowing what we know now about MiraLAX, would you prescribe it to your own child?”

This question will definitely get their attention. And if not, you can always find another doctor.

By pointing out MiraLAX-related risks to medical professionals, you will not only protect the health and future of your child, but will also help other children under their care in a similar situation.

Reader’s testimonial

Hi, I have just started using Hydro-C on my 22 month old daughter, she has been constipated since 8 months old. I have noticed that not only has her bowl movements improved greatly, but also her sleep.

After the first dose I gave her, she did not poop right away, but slept well that night. She has not slept more than a 2 hour span of sleep at one time since she was 5 months old. Her sleep is broken up all night long, averaging 40 minutes to an hour at a time and I have to put her back to sleep each time she wakes. (For this reason we co-sleep, or I would not get any sleep at all.)

She now sleeps a 4 hour stretch, with some smaller ones. I have tried everything for both her sleep and her constipation, everything natural, and unfortunately I did use PEG 3350 at the recommendation of a paediatrician, and nothing has helped in any area.

I stumbled across your site when researching what PEG really was (I was told it was just fibre!!) and I thank God that you have informed people about PEG. R.C., Canada (via e-mail)

Author’s note

If you think this article is a tempest in a teapot, you have no idea just how insidiously damaging constipation may be to someone’s health, physical and mental alike. And even more so to a hysterically crying baby with zero tolerance for pain, but no capacity to describe in words what’s hurting her.

Adding insult to injury, after getting nuked with an abdominal CT scan to “diagnose” constipation and, then hooked on MiraLAX by the very doctors expected to protect her health, she may end up autistic and cancer-prone for the rest of her life.

All that said, I am not yelling “fire” here for the sake of making a point. To the contrary — this site provides safe, effective, and natural solutions for resolving the nastiest kinds of “constipations,” and I hope you’ll use them.

If you are interested in exploring connections between autism and nutritional deficiencies related to PEG, please check out these articles:

Sullivan KM. Iodine deficiency as a cause of autism. J Neurol Sci. 2009;276(1-2):202; author reply 203 .

Even though dysbiosis — the dearth of intestinal microflora in the large intestine — isn’t recognized in the United States as a medical condition, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of academic research to support its role in countless pathologies:

Vitamin K deficiency, The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy .

Bitoin. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center .

Dieu-Thu Nguyen-Khoa, MD; Vitamin K Deficiency; Etiology; Medscape Reference .

If push comes to shove, don’t fight your doctors over this contentious topic — just refer them to these links. These references are as mainstream as it gets. Incidentally, the “Merck” in the Merck Manual is the same “Merck” as in MiraLAX story. Go figure…

Déjà vu all over again…

On or about May 7, 2014, Merck & Co., Inc. entered into a “definitive agreement” with Bayer AG of Germany to sell their consumer care division — the one behind MiraLAX — for $14.2 billion . This transaction, I believe, is a bad omen for anyone facing chronic constipation, and here is why:

Bayer AG ( €40.2 billion revenue in FY 2013) is the company behind Bayer Aspirin, also known generically as acetylsalicylic acid. Aspirin belongs to a class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is commonly used to treat pain, high fever, arthritis, inflammation, as well as promoted to reduce the risk of heart attack (more on this later).

Besides plain and coated aspirin, the company sells Bayer Chewable Aspirin. It is available in 81 mg chewable tablets with “pleasant orange or cherry flavor,” and is promoted on the website shamelessly named wonderdrug.com.

The only class of patients who may need a chewable version of aspirin are small children who can’t swallow regular tablets. In fact, not so long ago this product has been cheerfully sold as Bayer Children’s Chewable Aspirin in 80 mg (1.25 grains) tablets:

As you can see from the illustration above, the doses of aspirin recommended for children were incredibly high:

— Up to 800 mg per day between the ages of 2 and 4 years, or two 80 mg tablets up to five times daily for a total of 10 tablets each day;
— Up to 1,200 mg between 4 and 6 (15 tablets total);
— Up to 1,600 mg between 6 and 9 (20 tablets total);
— Up to 2,000 mg between 9 and 11 (25 tablets total);
— Up to 2,400 mg between 11 and 12, or 30 tablets in a single day.

I wonder how many children had been permanently harmed from these recommendations. I don’t know when this product was removed from circulation, but judging from the expiration date on the bottle, this insanity was happening as recently as in 1989.

After an intense pressure from pediatricians and regulators, Bayer took the word “Children’s” from the label because aspirin is connected to Reye’s syndrome — a sudden brain and liver damage among young children who took aspirin for high fever. For similar reasons, pediatric cold syrups with aspirin were quietly removed from the market in the recent past.

Even adults aren’t spared from a similar deception. Bayer AG markets Bayer Safety Coated Aspirin with the implied promise that it is safe for the stomach: “Enteric coating is a delayed-released safety coating that provides added stomach protection,” they say.

In reality, an enteric coating DOESN’T offer any protection because aspirin is a systemic drug, meaning it causes bleedings not because of its contact with the stomach’s mucosal membrane, but because it reduces the coagulation of the blood, a frequent cause of death or disability in older adult caused by internal bleedings related to accidental falls, peptic ulcers, vascular ruptures, or hemorrhagic strokes.

Speaking of the prevention of the heart attack and stroke with aspirin:

The composite cutout from the FDA’s Consumer Update website,
Article released on May 5th, 2014 .

If you know anyone who takes Bayer Safety Coated Aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke, or, God forbid, may be giving Bayer Chewable Aspirin to their young children, please let them know about their potential harm!

To summarize — expect worse. After all, getting back some of that $14.2 billion investment into the Merck’s discards, or keeping the sales of the “wonderdrug” afloat, will require a lot of unsuspecting patients, a lot of complacent (or complicit) medical professionals, and a lot of victims.

To prevent this from happening to your relatives, friends, and associates, please share this life-saving information on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages. As improbable as it may sound, your single click today may save more than one life tomorrow. Thank you!

Click the symbol to view a related web page. Click the Backspace key to return to the original location.

1U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 3350 over-the-counter oral laxative (Miralax),” Potential Signals of Serious Risks/New Safety Information Identified by the Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) between October – December 2011, last modified October 18, 2012, .

2National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “ETHYLENE GLYCOL : Systemic Agent,” The Emergency Response Safety and Health Database, last reviewed May 12, 2011, accessed January 16, 2013, .

3The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals, “Neurologic Disorders,” Accessed January 16, 2013, .

5Dow Chemical Company, “CARBOWAX™ Polyethylene Glycols: Innovation, Performance, Flexibility and Quality from the Global Leader in PEGs,” published October 2011, .

6“MiraLAX easily dissolves in four to eight ounces of water, fruit juice, or any other beverage. And each 7, 14, and 30 dose bottle top is a measuring device that indicates one 17g dose.” –MSD Consumer Care, Inc., “How do I take MiraLAX?,” FAQs, .

7Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Company, “Polyethylene Glycol,” Drugs.com, last revised January 2012, .

8Catherine Saint Louis, “Drug for Adults is Popular as Children’s Remedy,” New York Times, May 25, 2012, .

9“Stop use and ask a doctor if you need to use a laxative for longer than 1 week,” MSD Consumer Care, Inc., “Directions,” “Warnings,” MiraLAX product label, .

10“In 1999, when the F.D.A. first approved MiraLAX, the patient materials included the warning: “MiraLAX should not be used by children.” – Catherine Saint Louis, “Drug for Adults is Popular as Children’s Remedy,” New York Times, May 25, 2012, .

11Consumer Care, Inc., “What is MiraLAX?,” MiraLAX Product Brochure, page 2, .

12“Up to 140,000 extra heart attacks may have been caused in the US by the recently withdrawn drug Vioxx since its launch in 1999.” –Shaoni Bhattacharya, “Up to 140,000 heart attacks linked to Vioxx,” NewScientist.com, published January 25, 2005, .

13“Merck settled in late 2007 for a relative pittance, resolving some 50,000 Vioxx cases for just under $5 billion. It was a far cry from the $25 billion to $50 billion in liability that analysts had predicted when Merck withdrew the drug.” –Snigdha Prakash, “The Cover-Up Artist: Why is the CEO of Merck leading the sex-abuse investigation at Penn State?,” Slate.com, posted November 15, 2011, .

14The Dow Chemical Company, CARBOWAX™ SENTRY™ Polyethylene Glycols: Innovation, Performance, Flexibility and Compliance from the Global Leader in PEGs,” published October 2011, .

All references above were compiled in December of 2012. If any of the links is missing, you can locate it on the Internet Archive website.

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