Polyethylene Glycol Electrolytes Bisacodyl Uses Side Effects

Polyethylene Glycol Electrolytes Bisacodyl Uses Side Effects

polyethylene glycol/electrolytes and bisacodyl

Polyethylene glycol/electrolytes and bisacodyl is a combination laxative used to cleanse the colon for a colonoscopy in adults. This product includes a tablet and a solution taken orally to induce diarrhea and clear the bowels for examination. The components of this medication work as follows:

  • Polyethylene glycol: A water-soluble laxative that softens the stools and promotes their elimination by drawing water into the colon.
  • Bisacodyl: A stimulant laxative that stimulates the smooth muscles of the intestines, facilitating the passage of bowel contents and preventing excessive water reabsorption.
  • Electrolytes: Charged mineral particles essential for normal organ functioning. Added to the medication to replace electrolytes lost due to the laxative effects.


  • Do not use this medication if you have certain gastrointestinal conditions such as obstruction, perforation, gastric retention, toxic colitis, megacolon, or intestinal muscle paralysis.
  • Evaluate electrolyte balance before taking this medication, especially if you have conditions or take medications that may cause fluid and electrolyte disturbances.
  • Hydrate adequately before, during, and after taking this medication.
  • If dehydration occurs, consider evaluation of electrolytes, creatinine, and blood urea nitrogen.
  • Use caution if you have a history of seizures, take medications that lower seizure threshold, take medications that increase the risk of electrolyte imbalance, are withdrawing from benzodiazepines or alcohol, or have low blood sodium.
  • Use caution if you have a history of QT interval prolongation, uncontrolled arrhythmia, recent myocardial infarction, unstable angina, congestive heart failure, or cardiomyopathy.
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Side Effects of polyethylene glycol/electrolytes and bisacodyl

Common side effects include:

  • Discomfort
  • Fullness
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Less common side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions such as hives, nasal discharge, dermatitis, or severe allergic reactions

Rare, serious side effects in elderly patients include:

  • Upper gastrointestinal bleeding from a Mallory-Weiss tear
  • Esophageal perforation
  • Asystole
  • Pulmonary edema after vomiting and aspirating the solution
  • Death in patients with end-stage renal failure who developed diarrhea, vomiting, and electrolyte disturbance

Seek medical attention if you experience:

  • Heart symptoms, severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, or severe nervous system reaction
  • Eye symptoms such as blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights

This is not a complete list of side effects. Contact your doctor for medical advice or report any side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosages of polyethylene glycol/electrolytes and bisacodyl

HalfLytely and Bisacodyl Tablet Bowel Prep Kit:

  • One 5 mg bisacodyl delayed-release tablet
  • One 2-liter HalfLytely bottle with powder for reconstitution

Adult Dosage for Colon Cleansing:

Follow the recommended dosage regimen:

  • No solid food or milk (clear liquids only) on the preparation day
  • Take one 5 mg bisacodyl delayed-release tablet with water, without chewing or crushing it
  • Do not take antacids within one hour of the tablet
  • Follow the instructions on the kit to prepare the HalfLytely solution and add flavor if desired
  • Do not add any additional ingredients to the solution
  • Drink the 2-liter HalfLytely solution at a rate of 8 ounces every 10 minutes until finished, waiting for a bowel movement if necessary
  • Consume only clear liquids after taking the solution
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Pediatric: Safety and effectiveness not established

Overdose: Discontinue the medication, hydrate adequately, and correct electrolyte imbalance if necessary.

Drug Interactions

Inform your doctor of all medications you are taking to check for possible interactions. Do not change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

Interactions may occur with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, NSAIDs, antacids, and oral medications taken within one hour of drinking the HalfLytely solution. Consult the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for more information.

Always inform your doctor or pharmacist about all medications you use, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well studied. Use only if clearly needed during pregnancy and with caution while breastfeeding.

Other Information

  • Take this medication exactly as instructed.
  • Stay hydrated before, during, and after taking this medication for colonoscopy preparation.
  • Slow down or temporarily discontinue intake if severe bloating, distention, or abdominal pain occurs.
  • Report any allergic reactions or serious side effects promptly.
  • Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical help for severe symptoms.


Polyethylene glycol/electrolytes and bisacodyl is a laxative used for colon cleansing before a colonoscopy. Common side effects include discomfort, fullness, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.


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