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: solution

Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Anal irritation; diarrhea; gas; nausea; stomach cramps.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); continuing constipation; dizziness; rectal bleeding; sudden weight gain; unusual swelling; vomiting; weakness.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to sorbitol: compounding powder, irrigation solution, oral liquid

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects have included sudden severe abdominal bloating, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and osmotic diarrhea.

Metabolic

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.

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