Macrogol For The Treatment of Chronic Constipation

The use of Macrogol for the treatment of chronic constipation is simply an aid when it comes to the hygienic and dietary measures indicated for this condition. It should go hand in hand with changes in a person's nutritional and exercise habits.
Macrogol For The Treatment of Chronic Constipation
María Vijande

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist María Vijande.

Written by María Vijande

Last update: 11 June, 2022

Macrogol is a pharmaceutical laxative that exerts its effect thanks to its osmotic action on the intestine. Its action mechanism produces an increase in fecal volume and stimulates the motility of the colon. Given this osmotic effect, the transporting of softened feces improves, thus facilitating defecation. However, it’s best for the administration of Macrogol to be as short as possible in order to prevent side effects. Below, we’ll tell you more about using Macrogol for the treatment of chronic constipation.
It’s important not to treat this substance as a solution. Rather, it’s simply an aid, given that patients should also apply a series of hygienic and dietary changes to their lifestyle. Among these changes, we can mention an increase in the intake of liquids and the consumption of dietary fiber.

What’s more, it’s important to note that regular physical exercise and the rehabilitation of a person’s defecation habits are also important. Without these changes, the use of Macrogol for the treatment of chronic constipation won’t get to the root of the problem.

What dosage should I take?

Patients can take Macrogol at any hour of the day, along with food and drinks, or without them. As for the precise dosage, it’ll depend on the seriousness of the problem.

However, once you begin to take Macrogol, after two days you should begin to reduce the dosage. If the constipation is chronic, then the usual dosage for adults is one packet, one to three times per day. In most cases, one or two packets per day will suffice.

Based on the body’s response and each person’s situation, individuals may take up to three packets per day. On average, treatment lasts for two weeks. Then, if symptoms persist after this time is up, patients should see a doctor.
When it comes to the use of Macrogol in treating fecal retention, the dosage is higher. To be more specific, patients can take up to 8 packets in a period of 6 hours for up to a maximum of three days. Once you prepare the solution, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to six hours.

A woman with chronic constipation.

Read also: Three Foods with Laxative Properties to Combat Constipation

How should I take Macrogol?

In order to prepare Macrogol, you should dissolve the content of one packet in half a glass of water and take it immediately. However, in the treatment of fecal retention, it’s easier to dissolve all 8 packets in a liter of water.

If necessary, you can increase the dosage to two packets per day. However, it’s best to wait a few days to see if results are positive before increasing the dosage. The effects of Macrogol begin to appear some 24 to 48 hours after administration.

What are the side effects of Macrogol?

This medication can cause side effects which are classified depending on their frequency:

  • Very rare side effects: Anaphylactic reactions, like difficulty breathing or the swelling of the throat and face, are rare. The same is true in the case of hypersensibility in the form of allergic skin reactions.
  • Very frequent: These types of adverse effects appear in the case of high dosages, which can lead to diarrhea. However, they tend to disappear one or two days after ceasing to take macrogol.
  • Frequent reactions: These may include abdominal pain or bloating.

Contraindications and interactions with Macrogol

Among the contraindications of Macrogol in the treatment of chronic constipation and fecal retention are the following:

  • Children under the age of 12
  • The presence of a perforation in the intestinal wall
  • Obstruction of the small intestine
  • Inflammatory intestinal disease

What’s more, macrogol isn’t recommended for patients that are hypersensitive to it or who suffer from ulcerous colitis, Crohn’s disease, or toxic megacolon. As for the interaction with other medications, you shouldn’t take any other medication one hour before or one hour after the ingestion of Macrogol.

If you’re pregnant, or believe that you may be, you should consult with your doctor before you start taking Macrogol. In the same way, you should talk with a specialist before taking Macrogol while breastfeeding .

You may also want to read: 10 Natural Laxatives for Constipation

Constipation requires more than just medication

The use of laxatives and the amount you should take varies depending on the seriousness of constipation, among other issues. Experts recommend osmotic pharmaceuticals thanks to their tolerance and safety. However, if they don’t go hand in hand with a change in habits, diet, and physical activity, they’ll be ineffective on their own.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Candy, D., & Belsey, J. (2009). Macrogol (polyethylene glycol) laxatives in children with functional constipation and faecal impaction: A systematic review. Archives of Disease in Childhood.

  • Zangaglia, R., Martignoni, E., Glorioso, M., Ossola, M., Riboldazzi, G., Calandrella, D., … Pacchetti, C. (2007). Macrogol for the treatment of constipation in Parkinson’s disease. A randomized placebo-controlled study. Movement Disorders.

  • de Graaf, L. (2019). Macrogol. Nursing.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.