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GoLYTELY Side Effects

Generic Name: polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name GoLYTELY.

For the Consumer

Applies to polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes: oral powder for solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes (the active ingredient contained in GoLYTELY). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes:

More common:
  • Full or bloated feeling
  • pain in the upper stomach
  • pressure in the stomach
  • stomach pain
  • swelling of abdominal or stomach area
  • vomiting
  • Coma
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • decreased urine output
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • headache
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain or cramps
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, fingertips, lips, or mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Burning, itching, or pain around the anus
  • difficulty with sleeping
  • feeling unusually cold
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • hunger
  • nausea
  • shivering
  • thirst
Less common:
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • stomach discomfort or upset

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes: oral kit, oral powder for reconstitution


Mallory-Weiss tears are quite rare. 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.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, vomiting, gas, bloating, complaints of bad taste, anal irritation, and abdominal discomfort. 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.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have included arrhythmias.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have rarely included anaphylaxis. Rash, urticaria, lip and facial swelling, dyspnea, chest tightness, and throat tightness have been reported during postmarketing experience.[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]


Dermatologic side effects have rarely included urticaria.[Ref]


1. 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

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

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

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

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. 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

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

9. Marsh WH, Bronner MH, Yantis PL, Kilgore JW, Rickoff MI "Ventricular ectopy associated with peroral colonic lavage." Gastrointest Endosc 32 (1986): 259-63

10. Schuman E, Balsam PE "Probable anaphylactic reaction to polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution." Gastrointest Endosc 37 (1991): 411

Not all side effects for GoLYTELY 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.