Bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride Side Effects
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 7, 2020.
For the Consumer
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Swelling of belly.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Bleeding from rectum or rectal pain.
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
- Throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.
- This drug may cause you to be dehydrated or have electrolyte problems. Rarely, this may be severe or deadly. Tell your doctor right away if you get dizzy, pass out, feel tired or weak, or are unable to pass urine. Tell your doctor right away if you have a fast or abnormal heartbeat, seizures, headache, mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, more thirst, not hungry, dry mouth or eyes, severe upset stomach or throwing up, or a change in the amount of urine produced.
What are some other side effects of this drug?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Feeling full.
- Belly pain.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Stomach cramps.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride: oral kit
Mallory-Weiss tears are quite rare with administration of PEG-ELS. In one study it occurred in only 0.06% of over 3,000 patients.
Complete rectal prolapse was reported in a 71-year-old who had been given 4 L of PEG-ELS. The patient was observed for 2 days and had no recurrence of the prolapse.
Gastrointestinal side effects have been reported the most frequently. These have included nausea (17.1%), cramping (9.1%), abdominal fullness (22.3%), vomiting (5.9%) and overall discomfort (19.1%).
A small percentage of patients who received PEG-ELS have reportedly experienced Mallory-Weiss tears of the esophagus and esophageal perforation. In addition, at least one case of rectal prolapse has been reported.[Ref]
Cardiac arrhythmias, especially increased ventricular ectopy, have been associated with PEG-ELS use.
The manufacturer notes an isolated case of asystole following ingestion of PEG-ELS in a geriatric patient (equal to or greater than 60 years of age).[Ref]
Cardiovascular side effects of PEG-ELS have included arrhythmias and asystole.[Ref]
A 70-year-old male developed shortness of breath, wheezing, skin flushing, and lowered blood pressure after drinking a second glass of PEG-ELS.[Ref]
Other side effects with PEG-ELS have included rhinorrhea.[Ref]
The manufacturer notes isolated reports of 'butterfly-like' infiltrate on chest X-ray following vomiting and aspiration of PEG-ELS and sudden dyspnea with pulmonary edema in geriatric patients (equal to or greater than 60-years-old).[Ref]
Tonic-clonic seizures have been reported in patients with and without previous history of seizures following administration of PEG-ELS (4 liters).[Ref]
Nervous system side effects have included tonic-clonic seizures.[Ref]
1. Andorsky RI, Goldner F "Colonic lavage solution (polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution) as a treatment for chronic constipation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study." Am J Gastroenterol 85 (1990): 261-5
2. Bowden TA Jr, DiPiro JT, Michael KA "Polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution (PEG-ELS). A rapid, safe mechanical bowel preparation for colorectal surgery." Am Surg 53 (1987): 34-6
3. McBride MA, Vanagunas A "Esophageal perforation associated with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 39 (1993): 856-7
4. "Product Information. HalfLytely and Bisacodyl (bisacodyl-PEG 3350 electrolyte (bisacodyl-PEG 3350 with electrolytes))." Braintree Laboratories, Braintree, MA.
5. Santoro MJ, Chen YK, Collen MJ "Polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution-induced Mallory-Weiss tears." Am J Gastroenterol 88 (1993): 1292-3
6. Korkis AM, Miskovitz PF, Yurt RW, Klein H "Rectal prolapse after oral cathartics." J Clin Gastroenterol 14 (1992): 339-41
7. DiPalma JA, Brady CE 3d "Colon cleansing for diagnostic and surgical procedures: polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution." Am J Gastroenterol 84 (1989): 1008-16
8. Raymond PL "Mallory-Weiss tear associated with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 37 (1991): 410-1
9. Brinberg DE, Stein J "Mallory-Weiss tear with colonic lavage." Ann Intern Med 104 (1986): 894-5
10. Marsh WH, Bronner MH, Yantis PL, Kilgore JW, Rickoff MI "Ventricular ectopy associated with peroral colonic lavage." Gastrointest Endosc 32 (1986): 259-63
11. Schuman E, Balsam PE "Probable anaphylactic reaction to polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 37 (1991): 411
More about bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride
- Other brands
- HalfLytely and Bisacodyl
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.