Miralax Reviews: Does MiraLAX Laxative Powder Really Work?

Learn about Miralax --- Mechanism of Action, Ingredients, Side Effects, Precautions, Comparison to other Laxatives.

In This Review

What is Miralax?

Miralax is an osmotic laxative used in the prevention and treatment of constipation. Miralax was approved by the FDA as a safe and effective over-the-counter (OTC) laxative in 1999 for all ages (US Food and Drug Administration, 2001). Miralax is also available as an
OTC drug by its generic name, polyethylene glycol 3350.

Miralax Overall Score

Overall Rating: 4/5
MiralaxMiralax

ingredient

4/5Ingredients
Value for Cost

3/5Value for Cost
Effectiveness

4/5Effectiveness
Safety

5/5Safety

How Does Miralax Work?

Miralax works by way of osmosis, a term that means water movement from one membrane to another. When Miralax is ingested, it stimulates the GI tract to retain water. This extra water in the large intestines helps relieve constipation by making stools softer. The softer the stool, the more easily it can be evacuated.

How Will Miralax Help Me?

Constipation can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Excess stool in the colon and intestines puts pressure on the surrounding tissues and can interfere with everyday activities. Constipation can even contribute to anxiety and restlessness.

Sometimes, constipation can become so severe that the stool is impacted in the colon, and an enema must be used to remove the stool. This severe form of stool impaction is common in elderly people and those who use opioid narcotics. However, most people who have bowel movements throughout the week don’t have this issue but may deal with occasional, minor constipation.

If you suffer from occasional constipation, then this medication can help you regulate your bowel patterns and treat constipation.

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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Miralax is also used as a bowel prep for colon procedures. If you are using Miralax as a bowel prep, chances are you have specific instructions from your doctor on its use.

Miralax Ingredients

The active ingredient in Miralax is polyethylene glycol 3350. Polyethylene glycol 3350 works by retaining water in the intestines. There are no other ingredients in Miralax such as dyes or flavors. The ‘3350’ is a newer form of polyethylene glycol that has been associated with less side effects such as electrolyte imbalances, abdominal pain, and nausea in children (Boles, Gaines, & Tillman, 2015).

Miralax Side Effects

Short-term side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach upset
  • Urticaria (itching)
  • Bloating.

Long-term side effects of Miralax can be dangerous and include electrolyte imbalances and chronic laxative dependence. Miralax is only recommended to take for a short period of time until the desired effect has been reached (having a bowel movement).

The longest recommended daily dosing for Miralax is two months. If taking for 1-2 months, make sure Miralax is gradually tapered as abrupt withdrawal can cause rebound constipation (MiraLAX Dosing, 2022).

Miralax For Kids

Over the last few years, some claims against Miralax have surfaced, linking it to behavioral changes and aggression in children. Although these claims are highly concerning, there is currently no evidence to support them (Helmendach, 2018).

Constipation is a very common occurrence in children, so it’s likely that pediatricians will continue to prescribe Miralax for mild constipation in children over two years old. If you are concerned about possible adverse effects, please do not use Miralax for your children. You can try more natural alternatives like prune juice and mineral oil suppositories (Borowitz, 2022).

Precautions when taking Miralax

There are some considerations when deciding whether to take Miralax:

Water intake: Since Miralax works by retaining water in the intestines, drinking a healthy amount of water while taking Miralax is a must. Try drinking two to three liters of water daily while you are taking Miralax.

Kidney function: Elderly people and individuals with kidney dysfunction or disease need to be cautious taking Miralax. Miralax is metabolized through the kidneys and can worsen kidney function. People with kidney problems should talk to their doctor prior to taking Miralax.

Seizures: Miralax can lower seizure threshold in individuals with epilepsy. A lower seizure threshold can increase the risk of spontaneous seizure activity. Do not take Miralax if you have epilepsy until talking to your doctor.

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*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.

Taking with other medications: Using Miralax as a bowel prep requires ingesting large amounts of Miralax in a short period of time. Make sure to take any other meds one hour before or after Miralax. There is some evidence that bowel prep with Miralax can lower absorption of simultaneously ingested medications.

Bowel Obstruction/Ulcers: If you have a history of bowel obstruction, ulcers, or other serious GI complications, Miralax is contraindicated as it can worsen symptoms and cause life-threatening emergencies such as bowel perforation.

(MiraLAX Dosing, 2022).

Miralax Dosing

Miralax is the name brand version of polyethylene glycol 3350. Miralax comes in single-use packets and different sized bottles.

Miralax Powder is the common form of polyethylene glycol 3350. A normal dose is 17 grams (1 cap full) and should be mixed in 8 ounces of water or preferred liquid. Follow package instructions when mixing this medication.

Comparing OTC Laxatives and Stool Softeners

Miralax Milk of Magnesia Senokot Bisacodyl Docusate sodium Magnesium Citrate
Osmotic Laxative
Emollient Laxative
Stimulant Laxative
Increases Water in Intestines
Safe for Kids !(unverified concerns) !(check age limitations)
Safe in Pregnancy ! (speak with your doctor first)

**Please see Reference List

Miralax FAQ

Q: How Long Does Miralax Take to Work?

A: Miralax can sometimes take several doses to produce a bowel movement. Since the recommendation is only 1 dose per day, this can be a rather long process. If taking Miralax more than three days without a bowel movement, you may want to try a different laxative in addition to or instead of Miralax.

Q: Can I take Miralax with my other medications?

A: There are several drug interactions with Miralax, as with many other medications. If you take prescribed medications or supplements, check with your doctor before starting ANY new over-the-counter drug or herbal supplement.

Q: Where can I buy Miralax?

A: Miralax is sold over the counter and can be prescribed from your doctor’s office. You can get Miralax at any pharmacy. You can also order Miralax online from any major grocery shopping site such as Amazon, Walmart, Instacart, etc.

Q: Are there similar products to Miralax on the market?

A: Yes. It’s important to note that cheaper generic versions of over-the-counter Polyethylene Glycol 3350 are available. Although some people prefer name brand, these generic products are FDA-approved and have the same effectiveness as Miralax.

Conclusion

Miralax is an FDA-approved, safe, and effective osmotic laxative for use in occasional constipation. There are some precautions to take when using Miralax such as avoiding long term use and checking for drug interactions. Always speak with your doctor if you have kidney problems, seizures, GI issues, or any other medical concerns before taking Miralax. Overall, Miralax ranks 4/5 when comparing ingredients, cost, effectiveness, and reliable reviews.

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Miralax Reviews: Does MiraLAX Laxative Powder Really Work?

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PRODUCT NAME
Miralax
PRODUCT BRAND
Miralax
PRICE (in USD)
$32.99
Miralax Reviews: Does MiraLAX Laxative Powder Really Work?

9 sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Boles, E. E., Gaines, C. L., & Tillman, E. M. (2015, May). Comparison of polyethylene glycol-electrolyte solution VS polyethylene glycol-3350 for the treatment of fecal impaction in pediatric patients. The journal of pediatric pharmacology and therapeutics : JPPT : the official journal of PPAG. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471715/
[2] Cerner Multum, Inc. (2021, February 19). Brand Monograph. sennosides: Dosing, contraindications, side effects, and pill pictures - epocrates online. . Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/180910/sennosides/Monograph
[3] Cerner Multum, Inc. (2015, September 21). Classes. magnesium citrate: Dosing, contraindications, side effects, and pill pictures - epocrates online. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/31810/magnesium-citrate/Monograph
[4] Classes. Colace: Dosing, contraindications, side effects, and pill pictures - epocrates online. (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/otcs/180410/Colace/Monograph
[5] Classes. Dulcolax Laxative Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2022, from https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/otcs/2242/Dulcolax-Laxative
[6] Helmendach, H. (2018, January 18). Miralax pediatric study on psychiatric side effects projected to be completed in 2018. Drug Safety Developments. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.drug-injury.com/drug_injury/2018/01/miralax-study-projected-to-be-completed-this-year.html
[7] MiraLAX Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2022, from https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/otcs/2340/MiraLAX
[8] Stephen M Borowitz, M. D. (2022, June 17). Pediatric constipation medication: Osmotic laxatives, lubricants, stimulant laxatives, stool softeners, stool softeners in combination with stimulants. Pediatric Constipation Medication: Osmotic Laxatives, Lubricants, Stimulant Laxatives, Stool Softeners, Stool Softeners in Combination With Stimulants. Retrieved September 19, 2022, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/928185-medication
[9] US Food and Drug Administration. (2001, March 30). Drug approval package. MiraLax (Polyethylene Glycol 3350) NDA# 20-698. Retrieved September 17, 2022, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/99/020698.cfm

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