Polyethylene glycol 3350 is used to treat occasional constipation. Polyethylene glycol 3350 is in a class of medications called osmotic laxatives. It works by causing water to be retained with the stool. This increases the number of bowel movements and softens the stool so it is easier to pass.
Polyethylene glycol 3350 comes as a powder to be mixed with a liquid and taken by mouth. It is usually taken once a day as needed for up to 2 weeks. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take polyethylene glycol 3350 exactly as directed.
Polyethylene glycol 3350 may be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than your doctor tells you to.
It may take 2 to 4 days for polyethylene glycol 3350 to produce a bowel movement.
To use the powder, follow these steps:
- If you are using polyethylene glycol 3350 from a bottle, use the measuring line on the bottle cap to measure a single dose (about 1 heaping tablespoon). If you are using polyethylene glycol 3350 packets, each packet contains a single dose.
- Pour the powder into a cup containing 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of water, juice, soda, coffee, or tea.
- Stir to dissolve the powder.
- Drink immediately.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking polyethylene glycol 3350,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to polyethylene glycol or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had a bowel obstruction (blockage in the intestine) and if you have symptoms of bowel obstruction (upset stomach, vomiting, and stomach pain or bloating).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking polyethylene glycol 3350, call your doctor.
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fiber-rich foods, such as unprocessed bran, whole-grain bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly.
This medication is usually taken as needed.
Polyethylene glycol 3350 may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience either of them, call your doctor immediately:
Polyethylene glycol 3350 may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: February 1, 2009.