Movicol sachets contain macrogol (polyethylene glycol '3350'), which is a laxative medicine used for chronic constipation.
What is Movicol used for?
- Helping people who have been constipated for a long time to have a comfortable bowel movement.
- Relieving more severe constipation known as faecal impaction, where there is a build up of compressed and hardened stools (faeces) in the rectum, as a result of chronic constipation.
How does Movicol work?
- Movicol sachets contain macrogol (polyethylene glycol '3350'), which is a type of medicine known as an osmotic laxative. Each sachet also contains sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride and potassium chloride. The contents of the sachets are mixed with water to make a drink.
- Macrogol is an inert substance that passes through the gut without being absorbed into the body. It relieves constipation because it causes the water it is taken with to be retained in the bowel instead of being absorbed into the body.
How do I take Movicol?
- Take this medicine as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. The number of sachets needed, how often they should be taken and for how long depends on the severity of your constipation.
- The contents of each sachet should be dissolved in 125ml of water before taking. If needed you can add a flavour such as orange squash to the solution. If you can't drink the solution straight away, it can be kept covered in the fridge (2-8ºC) for up to six hours. Throw away any solution not used within a six hour period.
- The dose for constipation is normally one to three sachets a day, depending on the severity of the constipation. The number of sachets used should be spread over the day, eg one sachet three times a day. Using this medicine for longer than two weeks is not usually recommended. However, your doctor may recommend that you take it for longer than this if you have chronic constipation that is a result of diseases such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, or if you are taking regular medicines that cause constipation, such as opioid painkillers (eg morphine), antispasmodic medicines (eg hyoscine, atropine) or anticholinergic medicines for Parkinson's symptoms (eg procyclidine).
- For the treatment of faecal impaction the dose is eight sachets a day, all of which should be taken within a six hour period. You can make up this dose all at once (dissolve eight sachets in one litre of water) and keep it covered in the fridge. Drink the total amount over six hours. (If you have a heart condition you should divide the dose so that you don't take more than two sachets (one quarter of the litre of made-up solution) in any one hour.) A course of treatment for faecal impaction does not normally exceed three days.
Movicol should be used with caution in
Heart disease. If you have a heart condition you should not take more than two sachets in any one hour. Movicol should not be used in
- People with a hole in the gut (intestinal perforation).
- People with a blockage in the gut (intestinal obstruction) caused by a structural or functional disorder of the gut wall.
- Inflammation of the bowel and back passage (ulcerative colitis).
- Crohn's disease.
- People with a sudden expansion of the large intestine, seen in advanced ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease (toxic megacolon).
- Movicol should not be given to children under 12 years of age. Movicol paediatric is available for treating this age group.
- This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine can be used during pregnancy, though as with all medicines you should get medical advice from your doctor first. The medicine is not absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts and no harmful effects on a developing baby are expected.
- This medicine can be used by women who are breastfeeding. The medicine is not absorbed into the bloodstream in significant amounts and no harmful effects on a nursing infant are expected. Seek further medical advice from your doctor.
Possible side effects of Movicol
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Abdominal pain.
- Feeling sick.
- Swelling or bloating of the abdomen.
- Abdominal rumbling and gurgling sounds due to movement in the intestines.
- Wind (flatulence).
- Anal discomfort.
- Disturbances in the levels of electrolytes (particularly potassium) in the blood.
Can I take Movicol with other medicines?
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
Large volumes of fluid can flush tablets and capsules through the gut without giving them a chance to be absorbed into the body. For this reason, if you are taking a large volume of this medicine in one go, you should avoid taking other tablets or capsules in the hour before and after the dose. Ask your pharmacist for further advice.