How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG 3350) belongs to the class of medications called laxatives. PEG 3350 is used for the relief of occasional constipation. It works by softening the stools and keeping water in the intestines. This causes colon muscles to contract and produce a bowel movement more quickly. It may take 2 to 4 days for this medication to work.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor or pharmacist has not prescribed or suggested it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Powder for solution contains 100% polyethylene glycol 3350.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose is 17 g (1 sachet or heaping tablespoon) of PEG 3350 once a day. The powder should be added to 250 mL (1 cup) of water, juice, pop, coffee, or tea and stirred until all the contents are dissolved. Drink the solution as soon as it's made.

It may take 2 to 4 days for the medication to work. Do not use this product for longer than 7 days unless recommended by your doctor.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor or pharmacist has recommended a dose different from the ones above, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as recommended by your doctor or pharmacist.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

This medication is available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under "What form(s) does this medication come in?"

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

PEG 3350 should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to PEG 3350 or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • has an intestinal blockage

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal cramps or bloating
  • diarrhea
  • excessive stool frequency
  • flatulence (gas)
  • nausea

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the mouth, tongue, face, or throat)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Cramps, bloating, or diarrhea: If you have unusual cramps, bloating, or diarrhea while taking this medication, contact your doctor.

Fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or bloating: If you have any of these symptoms, don't take this medication until you talk to your doctor.

Long-term use: This medication should not be taken daily for more than one week unless directed by a health care professional. Long-term use can make your bowels dependent on this medication to function.

Overdose: Do not take more than the recommended dose of PEG 3350. Doing so may cause severe diarrhea and dehydration.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if PEG 3350 passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Do not give this medication to children under 18 years of age.

Seniors: If diarrhea occurs, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Do not take other medications within 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking PEG 3350. PEG3350 may reduce the effectiveness of other medications.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.