Methylcellulose

Generic Name: methylcellulose (meth-ill-SELL-yoo-lose)
Brand Name: Citrucel

Methylcellulose is used for:

Treating constipation and restoring regularity. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Methylcellulose is a bulk-forming laxative. It works by absorbing water and swelling in the intestines. This helps the stool form the bulk necessary to be easily passed.

Do NOT use methylcellulose if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in methylcellulose
  • you have appendicitis, difficulty swallowing, intestinal blockage, severe constipation, or rectal bleeding of unknown cause

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: View Frightful (But Dead Serious) Drug Side Effects

Before using methylcellulose:

Some medical conditions may interact with methylcellulose. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or a history of intestinal blockage
  • if you have a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for 2 weeks

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with methylcellulose. However, no specific interactions with methylcellulose are known at this time.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if methylcellulose may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use methylcellulose:

Use methylcellulose as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Methylcellulose may be taken with or without food.
  • Take each dose with a full glass (at least 8 ounces/240 mL) of liquid. Taking this product without enough liquid may cause choking.
  • Take methylcellulose 2 or more hours before or after other medicines.
  • If you miss a dose of methylcellulose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use methylcellulose.

Important safety information:

  • Taking methylcellulose without enough fluid may cause it to swell and block your throat or esophagus and may cause choking. Do not take methylcellulose if you have difficulty swallowing. If you experience chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing or breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose or use methylcellulose for longer than 1 week unless directed by your doctor.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within 1 week or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Do not take additional laxatives or stool softeners with methylcellulose unless directed by your doctor.
  • Methylcellulose usually takes 12 hours to 3 days to produce a bowel movement.
  • Stop use and contact your doctor if you have rectal bleeding or no bowel movement after use. These could be signs of a serious condition.
  • If you develop stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting, contact your doctor. Do not use any more of methylcellulose until you have checked with your doctor.
  • If you notice a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for 2 weeks or more, check with your doctor.
  • Methylcellulose is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 6 years of age without first checking with your doctor. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking methylcellulose, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using methylcellulose during pregnancy. It is unknown if methylcellulose is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using methylcellulose, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of methylcellulose:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Abdominal fullness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; difficulty swallowing; nausea; rectal bleeding; stomach pain; vomiting.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of methylcellulose:

Store methylcellulose at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep methylcellulose out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about methylcellulose, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Methylcellulose is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take methylcellulose or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about methylcellulose. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to methylcellulose. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using methylcellulose.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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