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What Is Polyethylene Glycol Electrolyte Solution and Bisacodyl Used For?

How Does Polyethylene Glycol Electrolyte Solution and Bisacodyl Work?

This medication is a combination of HalfLytely, an osmotic laxative, and bisacodyl, a stimulant laxative. HalfLytely also contains electrolytes to help replace any electrolytes lost from the body during treatment.
The osmotic laxative works by drawing water into the colon, which softens the stool and causes frequent, watery bowel movements. The stimulant laxative stimulates the smooth muscle of the intestines, causing the muscle to contract more often. When the intestinal muscles contract (known as peristalsis), the contents of the intestines move forward through the bowel, so the bowel can be emptied.

Is It Safe for Children?

Polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution and bisacodyl is only approved for use in people 18 years of age and older. It has not been adequately studied in children.

Can Older Adults Use It?

Older adults can use this medication. However, it may not work as well in people 65 years of age and older. In clinical studies, 87 percent of people given this laxative had a successful colon cleansing. However, only 67 percent of people aged 65 and older were successfully treated.
Additionally, some older adults may have an increased risk for potentially serious side effects, including:
  • Upper gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Perforation (tear) of the esophagus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Are There Off-Label Uses for Polyethylene Glycol Electrolyte Solution and Bisacodyl?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution and bisacodyl for something other than bowel preparation before a colonoscopy. This would be known as an "off-label" use. For example, this medication may be used off-label to cleanse the bowels before other gastrointestinal procedures.
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Polyethylene Glycol and Bisacodyl Information

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