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Bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride: solution, tablet

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

Discomfort; feeling of being full or bloated; mild stomach pain, cramping, or discomfort; nausea.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); decreased urination; fainting; irregular heartbeat; rectal bleeding; seizures; severe or persistent nausea; severe or persistent stomach pain, bloating, cramping, or discomfort; symptoms of dehydration (eg, very dry mouth or eyes, increased thirst, fast heartbeat, dizziness, headache, sluggishness); vomiting.

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.

During administration of PEG-ELS (4 liters) two deaths occurred in patients with end-stage renal failure following the development of vomiting, diarrhea and dysnatremia.[Ref]

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]


Dermatologic side effects reported with PEG-ELS have rarely included urticaria and dermatitis.[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]

Hypersensitivity side effects with PEG-ELS have rarely included anaphylaxis.[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]

Respiratory side effects with PEG-ELS have included sudden dyspnea with pulmonary edema, and 'butterfly-like' infiltrate on chest X-ray.[Ref]

Nervous system

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. DiPalma JA, Brady CE 3d "Colon cleansing for diagnostic and surgical procedures: polyethylene glycol-electrolyte lavage solution." Am J Gastroenterol 84 (1989): 1008-16

4. "Product Information. HalfLytely and Bisacodyl (bisacodyl-PEG 3350 electrolyte (bisacodyl-PEG 3350 with electrolytes))." Braintree Laboratories, Braintree, MA.

5. McBride MA, Vanagunas A "Esophageal perforation associated with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 39 (1993): 856-7

6. Santoro MJ, Chen YK, Collen MJ "Polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution-induced Mallory-Weiss tears." Am J Gastroenterol 88 (1993): 1292-3

7. Raymond PL "Mallory-Weiss tear associated with polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 37 (1991): 410-1

8. Brinberg DE, Stein J "Mallory-Weiss tear with colonic lavage." Ann Intern Med 104 (1986): 894-5

9. Korkis AM, Miskovitz PF, Yurt RW, Klein H "Rectal prolapse after oral cathartics." J Clin Gastroenterol 14 (1992): 339-41

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

Not all side effects for bisacodyl / polyethylene glycol 3350 / potassium chloride / sodium bicarbonate / sodium chloride may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.