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Laxative, hyperosmotic (By mouth)

Treats constipation by helping you have a bowel movement. Sometimes used to empty your bowel before surgery or other medical procedures.

Brand Name(s):

Citrate of Magnes, Clearlax, Colyte with Flavor Packs, Constulose, Dulcolax Bowel Cleansing Kit, Enulose, GaviLAX, GaviLyte-C with Flavor Pack, GaviLyte-G with Flavor Pack, GaviLyte-N with Flavor Pack, Generlac, Glycolax, Golytely, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Clear Lax, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Magnesium Citrate

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to lactulose, polyethylene glycol, sorbitol, magnesium, or sodium phosphate. Make sure your doctor knows if you are allergic to any other laxative medicines. You should not use this medicine if you have a blockage in your intestines. Tell your doctor if you cannot have lactose, or if you have other digestive problems. Also tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or congestive heart failure (CHF).

How to Use This Medicine:

Tablet, Powder for Suspension, Capsule, Liquid, Powder for Solution, Packet

  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup. You might need to mix the liquid with at least 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of water before you drink it.
  • You will need to mix the powder or the contents of the packet with water before using it. Most powders must be mixed with at least 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of water. Make sure you understand how much water to mix the medicine with. Drink the mixture right after you mix it.
  • If you using this medicine to empty your bowel before surgery or medical tests, follow your health caregiver's instructions about when to use this medicine. It is important to follow the correct schedule.
  • Drink a full glass of water when you take this medicine, unless your health caregiver tells you otherwise. One full glass of water is about 8 ounces or 1 cup. Most people should drink 6 to 8 full glasses of water every day. Doing this will help soften your bowel movements, making them easier to pass.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using any other medicine for digestion problems, such as an antacid, or any medicine for your heart.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or if you have diabetes or heart disease. Tell your doctor if you have trouble with magnesium, potassium, calcium, or sodium (salt) levels in your blood.
  • If you do not have a bowel movement after using this medicine, talk to your doctor. The amount of time before you should have a bowel movement depends on the type of laxative you are using. Some laxatives might cause a bowel movement in 30 minutes, and other laxatives could take as long as 48 hours (2 days).
  • Tell any doctor or dentist who treats you that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before you have surgery or medical tests.
  • Some kinds of laxatives are not for long-term use. Other laxatives might be used over a long time period. Ask your doctor how long it is safe to use this laxative.
  • If you are using this medicine for a long time, your doctor may need to check your blood at regular visits. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bleeding from your rectum.
  • Confusion, weakness, and muscle twitching.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, muscle cramps, severe nausea or vomiting.
  • Severe stomach pain, bloating, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild stomach pain, cramps, gas, nausea, vomiting.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088


Last Updated: 11/4/2014


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