Polyethylene Glycol

What is it?

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is an isosmotic laxative.


What is it used for?

PEG is used for treating constipation.


The laxative type:

Osmotic laxatives


How do osmotic laxatives work?

Osmotic laxatives draw water into the bowel from the surrounding tissues to soften stools and increase bowel movement frequency


What are the osmotic laxative side effects?

  • Common Side Effects:

  • stomach cramping

  • Diarrhea

  • Burning sensation

  • Bloating

  • Dehydration

  • Rectal irritation

  • Cramping rectal pain

  • Nausea


  • Long Term Side Effects

  • muscle cramps

  • irregular heartbeat

  • changes in your levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, which can affect the function of many organs in your body

  • excess water loss

  • heart disease

  • kidney disease

  • digestive diseases, such as:

  • intestinal blockage

  • Crohn’s disease

  • ulcerative colitis

  • appendicitis

  • stomach inflammation

  • anal prolapse

  • hemorrhoids


Osmotic laxatives include:

  • magnesium hydroxide (Phillips Milk of Magnesia)

  • magnesium citrate (Citroma)

  • polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX)

  • sodium phosphate* (Fleet Saline Enema)

  • glycerin (Fleet Glycerin Suppository)





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