Skip to Content

The originating document has been archived. We cannot confirm the completeness, accuracy and currency of the content.

GoLYTELY solution (packet)

Generic Name: polyethylene glycol/electrolytes (POL-ee-ETH-i-leen GLYE-kol/e-LECK-troe-lites)
Brand Name: GoLYTELY

GoLYTELY solution (packet) is used for:

Cleaning out the bowel before surgery or other procedures. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

GoLYTELY solution (packet) is a bowel cleansing solution. It works by causing the colon to produce a watery stool and empty the bowel.

Do NOT use GoLYTELY solution (packet) if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in GoLYTELY solution (packet)
  • you have certain stomach or bowel problems (eg, blockage, retention, perforation, toxic inflammation, megacolon, ileus)

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

Before using GoLYTELY solution (packet):

Some medical conditions may interact with GoLYTELY solution (packet). 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 swallowing problems (eg, history of aspiration or regurgitation) or your gag reflex does not function properly, or if you have a nasogastric (NG) tube
  • if you have electrolyte problems (eg, low blood calcium, magnesium, potassium, or sodium levels), kidney problems, or a history of seizures
  • if you have a history of irregular heartbeat (eg, prolonged QT interval), a recent heart attack, a certain type of chest pain (unstable angina), or other heart problems (eg, enlarged heart, heart failure)
  • if you have a history of stomach or bowel problems (eg, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, severe constipation)
  • if you are going through alcohol or benzodiazepine (eg, diazepam) withdrawal

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with GoLYTELY solution (packet). Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, lisinopril), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) (eg, valsartan), diuretics (eg, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, spironolactone), eplerenone, tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or medicines that may harm the kidney (eg, aminoglycoside antibiotics [eg, gentamicin], amphotericin B, cyclosporine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDs] [eg, ibuprofen], tacrolimus, vancomycin) because the risk of side effects, including abnormal blood electrolyte levels, seizures, or irregular heartbeat, may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the kidney
  • Stimulant laxatives (eg, bisacodyl) because they may increase the risk of certain bowel problems (eg, colon inflammation or ulcers)

Ask your health care provider if GoLYTELY solution (packet) 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 GoLYTELY solution (packet):

Use GoLYTELY solution (packet) as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Your doctor will tell you when to start using GoLYTELY solution (packet). Do not eat any solid foods for at least 2 hours before beginning GoLYTELY solution (packet). It is preferred that you do not eat for 3 to 4 hours before beginning GoLYTELY solution (packet).
  • Drink only clear liquids and do not eat any solid foods from the time you start GoLYTELY solution (packet) until your procedure is complete.
  • Do not eat or drink anything 2 hours before your colonoscopy. Do not eat or drink anything colored purple or red.
  • GoLYTELY solution (packet) must be mixed before you use it. Mix the contents of this packet with 1 gallon of water or as directed by your doctor. Use lukewarm water to mix GoLYTELY solution (packet) to help the medicine dissolve faster. Shake well.
  • Use GoLYTELY solution (packet) within 48 hours after you mix it. Keep the mixed medicine in the refrigerator. This may also help improve the taste. Do not add sugar, sweetening agents, or other additives to GoLYTELY solution (packet).
  • Shake well before each use.
  • Drink 8 ounces (240 mL) of GoLYTELY solution (packet) every 10 minutes until the stool is watery, clear, and free of all solid matter, or until the medicine is gone. At least 3 liters is usually required to produce the watery stool. It is best to drink all of GoLYTELY solution (packet). Be sure to follow the instructions provided by your doctor. It is best to drink each portion quickly rather than sipping it. Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash after each glass of medicine may help get rid of the taste.
  • You will need to drink extra fluids (eg, water, clear soup, fruit juice without pulp, soft drinks, tea and/or coffee without milk) along with GoLYTELY solution (packet). Check with your doctor for instructions.
  • Other medicines taken by mouth within 1 hour of taking GoLYTELY solution (packet) may not be absorbed or be effective. Contact your doctor or pharmacist with any concerns you might have about taking your other medicines.
  • If you miss a dose of GoLYTELY solution (packet), take it as soon as you remember. Continue to take it as directed by your doctor. Notify your doctor right away if you are unable to finish taking GoLYTELY solution (packet) before your test.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use GoLYTELY solution (packet).

Important safety information:

  • The first bowel movement usually occurs about 1 hour after you begin drinking GoLYTELY solution (packet).
  • You may experience stomach swelling, bloating, or discomfort before your first bowel movement after you start using GoLYTELY solution (packet). If you have severe stomach bloating or discomfort, it may help if you briefly stop drinking GoLYTELY solution (packet) or if you drink it more slowly. If these effects persist, contact your doctor.
  • Do NOT take other laxatives while you are taking GoLYTELY solution (packet).
  • Your doctor may do blood tests after you take GoLYTELY solution (packet) to check your blood for changes from too much fluid loss. Tell your doctor if you have dizziness; headache; severe bloating; severe or persistent nausea, stomach cramping, or vomiting; trouble drinking clear liquid; or if you urinate less than usual after you take GoLYTELY solution (packet).
  • Use GoLYTELY solution (packet) with caution in patients who are not fully conscious; they may be at greater risk for vomiting and getting the medicine into the airway or lungs.
  • Use GoLYTELY solution (packet) with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • GoLYTELY solution (packet) should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using GoLYTELY solution (packet) while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use GoLYTELY solution (packet), check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of GoLYTELY solution (packet):

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:

Bloating; nausea; rectal irritation; stomach fullness or cramps; vomiting.

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; muscle weakness; persistent or severe nausea and vomiting; rectal bleeding; severe stomach pain, swelling, or bloating; symptoms of blood electrolyte problems (eg, confusion; irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; muscle pain, weakness, or cramping; seizures); symptoms of dehydration (eg, decreased urination; dizziness; dry mouth or eyes; headache; sluggishness; weakness); vomiting of blood.

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 GoLYTELY solution (packet):

Before mixing, store GoLYTELY solution (packet) at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. After preparing the solution, store GoLYTELY solution (packet) in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container. Use within 48 hours. Discard any unused portion of GoLYTELY solution (packet). Keep GoLYTELY solution (packet) out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about GoLYTELY solution (packet), please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • GoLYTELY solution (packet) 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 GoLYTELY solution (packet) 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 GoLYTELY solution (packet). It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to GoLYTELY solution (packet). This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using GoLYTELY solution (packet).

Issue Date: June 3, 2015