This medication is used to treat occasional constipation. It works by holding water in the stool to soften the stool and increases the number of bowel movements. It is known as an osmotic-type laxative. This medication is also available without a prescription. If you are taking this medication for self-treatment, it is important to read the manufacturer's package instructions carefully so you know when to consult your doctor or pharmacist. (See also Precautions.)
Take by mouth usually once daily, or as directed by your doctor or the directions on the product package. If you are prescribed the individual packets, mix the powder as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. If you are using the bulk bottle, use the provided cap to measure the prescribed dose. Mix the powder with a glass (4-8 ounces/120-240 milliliters) of liquid such as water, juice, soda, coffee, or tea. Before drinking the solution, stir the powder well until it completely dissolves. If you have any questions, ask your pharmacist. It may take 2 to 4 days after you have started this medication to have a bowel movement. Do not increase your dose or take it more frequently than prescribed. Also, do not use this medication for more than 2 weeks unless directed by your doctor. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens. Extended use or overuse may result in dependence on laxatives and chronic constipation. Overuse may cause diarrhea, excess loss of body water (dehydration), and mineral imbalance (e.g., low sodium). If you are using nonprescription polyethylene glycol for self-treatment of occasional constipation and this treatment has not worked after 7 days, talk to your doctor for additional treatment advice.
Nausea, abdominal cramping, or gas may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects. Inform your doctor right away if you have excessive number of bowel movements, persistent diarrhea, severe or persistent stomach/abdominal pain, bloody stools, or rectal bleeding while using this medication. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing. This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist. In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch. In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. See packaging for the exact temperature range. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets. Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
If you are using this medication under your doctor's direction, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicine you are using before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first. Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe diarrhea, dizziness, decrease in the amount of urine.