Also known by its brand name MiraLax, polyethylene glycol is an over-the-counter medication used to treat constipation. Despite its effectiveness, polyethylene glycol poses a risk for side effects in some patients.
Types of Side Effects
Possible side effects of polyethylene glycol include nausea, bloating, abdominal cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and excessive defecation.
Polyethylene glycol side effects worsen with high doses of the medication. Only use the product as directed in the directions to avoid developing severe diarrhea.
According to the FDA, polyethylene glycol is only safe for use up to seven days. If taken longer, it poses an increased risk for side effects.
Some patients develop severe allergic reactions to MiraLax, causing the appearance of red welts on the skin known as uticaria. More serious, but rare, reactions include anaphylaxis, which is life-threatening and results in shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat and possible shock.
Patients over the age of 65 are more likely to develop side effects than those who are younger, according to the FDA. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your doctor before taking polyethylene glycol.