Psyllium Side Effects
For the Consumer
Applies to psyllium: capsules, powder, wafers
Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking psyllium:
Abdominal fullness; minor bloating.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; difficulty swallowing; trouble breathing; vomiting.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to psyllium: oral capsule, oral powder for reconstitution, oral wafer
Hypersensitivity side effects have been reported rarely. They have included sensitization from inhalation of fine dust particles dispersed into the air as the product is mixed or poured.[Ref]
While hypersensitivity reactions may be severe, they are most frequently reported by workers in the pharmaceutical firms that manufacture the drug. This is because when it is mixed or poured, fine dust particles are readily dispersed into the air and can then be inhaled and cause sensitization. Orally ingested psyllium seems less likely to induce sensitization.[Ref]
Gastrointestinal side effects have included several cases of esophageal impaction and duodenal bezoars in patients receiving a bulk laxative product containing 82% psyllium and 18% senna (commercially available as Perdiem Overnight Relief). Other gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, intestinal gas, cramps, mild diarrhea, rectal pain, constipation, and irritation.[Ref]
The case report of eosinophilia was believed to be a sole manifestation of an allergic reaction to psyllium.[Ref]
Hematologic side effects have included a case of eosinophilia.[Ref]
1. Gillespie BF, Rathbun FJ "Adverse effects of psyllium." CMAJ 146 (1992): 16-7
2. Schneider RP "Perdiem causes esophageal impaction and bezoars." South Med J 82 (1989): 1449-50
3. Stoy DB, LaRosa JC, Brewer BK, Mackey M, Meusing RA "Cholesterol-lowering effects of ready-to-eat cereal containing psyllium." J Am Diet Assoc 93 (1993): 910-2
4. Anderson JW, Floore TL, Geil PB, O'Neal DS, Balm TK "Hypocholesterolemic effects of different bulk-forming hydrophilic fibers as adjuncts to dietary therapy in mild to moderat hypercholesterolemia." Arch Intern Med 151 (1991): 1597-602
5. Angueira C, Kadakia S "Esophageal and duodenal bezoars from Perdiem [letter]." Gastrointest Endosc 39 (1993): 110-1
6. Nelson AM, Taubin HL, Frank HD "Eosinophilia associated with psyllium hydrophilic colloid ingestion [letter." JAMA 243 (1980): 329-30
It is possible that some side effects of psyllium may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.
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