Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts (Oral)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Nov 29, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- GaviLyte-N with Flavor Pack
- TriLyte w/Flavor Packs
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Laxative, Hyperosmotic
Uses for polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) and electrolytes combination solution is used to cleanse the colon (bowel) before a medical test (eg, colonoscopy).
PEG-electrolyte solution is a laxative. It works by causing you to have diarrhea to clean your colon. Cleaning your colon will help your doctor see the inside of your colon more clearly during colonoscopy.
Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of PEG- electrolyte solution in children 6 months of age and older. Safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 6 months.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of PEG-electrolyte solution in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney problems, which may require caution in patients using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Belladonna Alkaloids
Using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Mefenamic Acid
- Sodium Picosulfate
Using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Angina (chest pain), unstable or
- Heart attack, recent or
- Heart disease (eg, cardiomyopathy) or
- Hypocalcemia (low calcium in the blood) or
- Hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood) or
- Hypomagnesemia (low magnesium in the blood) or
- Hyponatremia (low sodium level in the blood) or
- Withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines (eg, alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, lorazepam, Xanax®)—May increase risk for seizures, arrhythmia, or kidney problems.
- Congestive heart failure or
- Dehydration or
- Heart rhythm problems (eg, prolonged QT interval, uncontrolled arrhythmia), history of or
- Inflammatory bowel disease or
- Kidney disease or
- Seizures, history of or
- Trouble swallowing or
- Ulcerative colitis, active and severe—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Fluid and electrolyte imbalance—Use with caution. These conditions may increase risk for more side effects and must be corrected first before using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts.
- Gastric retention (problem with emptying of food or fluid in the stomach) or
- Stomach or bowel problems (eg, blockage, ileus, perforation) or
- Toxic megacolon (very dilated or swollen intestine)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
Proper use of polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts
Your doctor may have special instructions based on the schedule for your colonoscopy. If you have not received instructions, or if you do not understand them, check with your doctor in advance.
Take polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts exactly as directed by your doctor. Otherwise, the test you are going to have may not work correctly and may have to be done again.
Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts comes with a Medication Guide. You must read, understand, and follow these instructions carefully. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
You must not eat any solid food for 2 hours before using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. Once you drink your first dose of medicine, do not eat solid food until after your test.
You may drink water or clear liquids up until 2 hours before the test unless your doctor has different instructions. Do not drink red and purple liquids.
Do not take any medicines by mouth within 1 hour before taking polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. Oral medicines may not be absorbed properly while you are cleaning out your colon. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
To use the medicine:
- Mix the powder with water before using it. Do not swallow the powder. Add lukewarm water to the fill mark on the bottle. If you are using flavoring powder that comes with the medicine, add it before adding the water. Do not add any extra flavorings or starch-based thickeners to the medicine.
- Shake well until all of the ingredients are dissolved. Use the solution within 48 hours.
- Drink 240 milliliters (mL) of the mixed medicine about every 10 minutes until you finish all of the prepared solution or until your stool is clear and free of solid matter. It is best to drink it fast instead of sipping it.
- You should have your first loose stool or mild diarrhea about 1 hour after you drink the medicine. This is how the medicine cleans out your bowels. You may have bloating or an upset stomach before the loose stools start.
- If you cannot swallow liquids, it can be given through a tube inserted into your nose.
The dose of polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (powder for solution):
- For cleansing of the colon:
- Adults—240 milliliters (mL) (8 oz) every 10 minutes.
- Children 6 months of age and older—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The dose is usually 25 milliliters (mL) per kilogram (kg) every hour.
- Children younger than 6 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For cleansing of the colon:
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep the mixed solution in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused liquid after 48 hours.
Precautions while using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts
It is important that your doctor check you closely for any unwanted effects caused by polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Contact your doctor right away if you have a decrease in urine, dizziness, fainting, headaches, or vomiting. These could be symptoms of too much fluid loss (dehydration).
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you had a heart rhythm problem, including QT prolongation.
Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts may cause serious bowel problems (eg, colon ulcers, ischemic colitis). Check with your doctor right away if you have stomach pain and tenderness, bloody stools, or rectal bleeding.
Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts may increase your risk for seizures. This is more likely to occur if you take medicine for depression, if you are withdrawing from alcohol or benzodiazepine use, or if you have low sodium level in the blood (hyponatremia). Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after using polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. Drink extra fluids so you will pass more urine. This may help prevent kidney problems.
Do not take additional stimulant laxatives (eg, bisacodyl, sodium picosulfate) with polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines.
Polyethylene glycol 3350, sodium and potassium salts side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Chest tightness
- difficulty with swallowing
- fast heartbeat
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- red skin
- skin rash, hives or welts, or itching
- trouble breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- Bloody or black, tarry stools
- blue lips and fingernails
- chest pain
- coughing that sometimes produces a pink frothy sputum
- difficult, fast, or noisy breathing
- increased sweating
- pale skin
- severe stomach pain
- swelling in the legs and ankles
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- stomach fullness
- Burning or itching around the anus
- stomach cramps
- Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
- cracked, dry, or scaly skin
- runny nose
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
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- En español
- Drug class: laxatives
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.