Sorbitol Side Effects
Some side effects of sorbitol may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.
For the Consumer
Applies to sorbitol: oral liquid
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking sorbitol: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using sorbitol and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
severe stomach cramps;
black, bloody, or tarry stools;
weakness, dizziness; or
frequent urge to have a bowel movement.
Less serious side effects of sorbitol may include:
gas, mild nausea or stomach cramps; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to sorbitol: compounding powder, irrigation solution, oral liquid
Gastrointestinal side effects have included sudden severe abdominal bloating, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and osmotic diarrhea.
Metabolic side effects have included reports of hypernatremia. These reports have primarily been associated with multiple administrations of activated charcoal sorbitol preparations.
One case study describes a 37-year-old patient who presented with phencyclidine intoxication. The patient was given four doses of activated charcoal in sorbitol and 1 dose of magnesium citrate over a 12-hour period of time. Lab results showed an increase in the serum sodium from 138 mmol/L to 165 mmol/L. The hypernatremia continued to worsen after the magnesium citrate was discontinued. It was felt that the increase was due to the repeated sorbitol administration. Other adult cases of hypernatremia secondary to activated charcoal-sorbitol regimens have been reported in the literature.
More sorbitol resources
- sorbitol irrigation solution MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- sorbitol Concise Consumer Information (Cerner Multum)
- Sorbitol Prescribing Information (FDA)
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