Miralax vs Milk Of Magnesia For Constipation – Differences & Side Effects

Miralax

It is the brand name of a drug called polyethylene glycol 3350, a laxative solution.

Mechanism of Action

It works by bringing water into the bowels. This makes the bowels retain water.

Contraindications

Before taking this laxative solution, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • nausea;
  • irritable bowel syndrome;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • severe stomach pain;
  • vomiting;
  • kidney disease.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • excessive intestinal gas;
  • bloating;
  • increased sweating;
  • dizziness;
  • upset stomach.

Less common side effects may include:

  • bloody diarrhea;
  • blood in the stools;
  • worsening stomach pain;
  • rectal bleeding.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medicine since alcohol use can notably increase the risk of side effects.

Uses

This medication is used to treat occasional constipation, a condition in which you are unable to completely empty your bowel or you are not passing stools regularly.

Prevalence of chronic constipation in North America ranges from 2 to 27 percent of the adult population, with a higher incidence seen in the elderly and women.

This condition can be related to an underlying medical condition or it may be a side effect of certain drugs. Moreover, constipation may be caused by not drinking enough fluids or not eating enough fiber.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known whether this laxative solution passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed infant.

It is not known whether polyethylene glycol 3350 will harm a developing fetus. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

Dosage

Note – taking this laxative solution should produce a bowel movement within 1 to 3 days.

The usual recommended dosage is 17 g of powder per day in 8 ounces of water.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Lasix (furosemide);
  • Linzess (linaclotide);
  • Cipro (ciprofloxacin);
  • prednisone.

Milk of Magnesia

It is the brand name of a drug called magnesium hydroxide which is part of a group of drugs called magnesium compounds.

Mechanism of Action

It works by drawing water into the intestines. In addition, it acts as a laxative to induce bowel movements.

Uses

This medicine is used as a laxative to relieve occasional constipation.

Note – it should only be used on a short-term basis to treat occasional constipation. That is because oral laxatives can occasionally interfere with how the human body absorbs other medicines.

In addition, it has been used by some for oily skin and as an acne treatment as well as to treat skin rashes, wounds, and canker sores

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 1 to 3 oral tablets 1 to 4 times per day as needed.

Note – do not use this medicine for longer than 7 days without medical advice.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • flushing;
  • drowsiness.

Rare side effects may include:

  • slow heartbeats;
  • rectal bleeding;
  • vomiting;
  • no bowel movement after using the medicine as a laxative;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • severe nausea.

Contraindications

Before taking magnesium hydroxide, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • vomiting;
  • severe stomach pain;
  • nausea;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • irritable bowel syndrome.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking magnesium hydroxide since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of side effects.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Aspirin Low Strength (aspirin);
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol);
  • Cimetidine;
  • Metoprolol Tartrate (metoprolol);
  • Lasix (furosemide);
  • magnesium oxide;
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin).

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is not known whether magnesium hydroxide passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Ask a healthcare provider before using this medicine if you are breastfeeding an infant.

It is not known whether magnesium hydroxide will harm a developing fetus. Ask a healthcare provider before using this medicine if you are pregnant.

Bottom Line – Miralax vs Milk of Magnesia

Miralax (active ingredient – polyethylene glycol 3350) is a laxative solution which is used to treat occasional constipation. Polyethylene glycol 3350 is a highly soluble and non-toxic compound which is minimally absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. This medicine works by increasing the amount of water in the intestinal tract to encourage bowel movements.

Milk of magnesia (active ingredient – magnesium hydroxide) is a popular laxative that is known for its ability in relieving fecal incontinence and constipation and promoting bowel movement.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4956069/
https://www.naspghan.org/files/Concurrent2_NeuroMotility_Williams_AM.pdf
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/481370

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