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What is polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution is a laxative solution that increases the amount of water in the intestinal tract to stimulate bowel movements. This medication also contains potassium, sodium, and other minerals to replace electrolytes that are passed from the body in the stool.
Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution is used to clean the bowel before colonoscopy, a barium x-ray, or other intestinal procedures.
Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol or any other electrolyte solutions (such as Pedialyte or Gatorade).
You should also not take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution if you have a perforated bowel, a bowel obstruction or severe constipation, or colitis or toxic megacolon. If you have any these conditions, you could have dangerous or life-threatening side effects from polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution.
People with eating disorders (such as anorexia or bulimia) should not take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution without the advice of a doctor.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are not able to consume all of the solution. Incomplete cleansing of the bowel may affect the scheduled procedure.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before taking polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Do not use this medication 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.
If you have any these conditions, you could have dangerous or life-threatening side effects from polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution.
People with eating disorders (such as anorexia or bulimia) should not use this medication without the advice of a doctor.
Before taking polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
- nausea or vomiting
- trouble swallowing; or
- a history of bowel obstruction, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, or other chronic bowel disease.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution.
FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Older adults may be more likely to have serious side effects from this medicine.
How should I take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Do not take polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution if it has been less than 2 hours since you last ate solid food. For best results, take the medicine 3 to 4 hours after you last ate.
Do not add any flavoringsto this medicine, such as sugar, honey, artificial sweetener, fruit juices, or other beverages.
Chilling the medicine in a refrigerator may make it taste better.
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.
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.
The usual dose of the medication is 8 ounces every 10 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.
You may be instructed not to drink or eat anything before your medical test or procedure. Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink for at least 24 hours before and after your test or procedure.
Throw away any polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution you have not used within 48 hours after it was mixed.
What happens if I miss a dose?
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.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine at one time.
An overdose of this medication is not expected to produce life-threatening symptoms.
What should I avoid while taking polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Avoid taking other medications, vitamins, or mineral supplements within 1 hour before drinking polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution. Any medications you take just before a bowel cleansing will not be properly absorbed into your body.
Do not use other laxatives while using polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution unless your doctor has told you to.
What are the possible side effects of polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor if you have any of these serious side effects:
- severe stomach pain or bloating
- no bowel movement within 2 hours after use; or
- gagging, choking, or vomiting.
If you have any of these side effects, you may need to drink the medication more slowly, or stop using it for a short time.
Less serious side effects may include:
- mild stomach cramps, gas, or bloating
- rectal pain or irritation
- nausea; or
- passing gas.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution?
There may be other drugs that can interact with polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution.
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.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2009 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02. Revision Date: 4/12/2009.