What is Movicol?
Movicol is a laxative treatment used to relieve constipation. It contains the ingredient macrogol, which is an osmotic laxative. It comes in sachets of powder that mix with water to create a solution that you drink.
What is Movicol used for?
The treatment is used to relieve difficulty passing stools, a condition more commonly known as constipation. In addition, Movicol is also often used to clear fecal impaction - buildups of hard stool in the bowel that can form if you’ve been constipated for a very long time.
How does Movicol work?
Movicol works differently to most other constipation treatments. Most laxative treatments are known as stimulant laxatives, and move stools through your digestive system by making the muscles in the colon contract.
Macrogol, the active ingredient in Movicol, is instead a bulk-forming laxative. It works by making stools slightly bigger and softer, which helps them travel through the bowels more easily.
How long does it take Movicol to work?
Depending on how severe your constipation is, Movicol can take up to two days to work.
How should I take the sachets?
Adults and children over 12 years of age should take one sachet, dissolved in 125ml of water, up to three times a day according to how severe their constipation is.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with fecal impaction, you should take eight sachets a day within a six-hour period. You can make this more convenient by dissolving eight sachets into a one-litre bottle of water, to be taken over the course of six hours.
Movicol should only be taken for three days. If the treatment still isn’t working by then, see your GP as soon as possible.
Is Movicol or Movicol-Half suitable for children?
Movicol and Movicol-Half are not recommended for use in children under the age of 12. If a child under the age of 12 years is suffering from constipation, they should see a GP who may be able to recommend a suitable alternative.
Who can’t take Movicol?
Movicol is recommended for adults and those aged 12 years of age and older suffering from constipation, where lifestyle measures have failed.
There are other circumstances where Movicol will not be suitable for some people. To be safe, you must tell your GP or a pharmacist before taking Movicol if you:
- Are allergic to macrogol or any other medication
- Have a hole or perforation in the wall of your intestine
- Have ever had a blockage in or paralysis of your intestines
- Suffer from ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or toxic megacolon
- Are undergoing treatment for heart failure or a heart arrhythmia
- Need to follow a low-salt diet (macrogol is high in sodium content)
What are the side effects of Movicol?
Some people may experience side effects using Movicol, but these are usually mild and will eventually subside. They include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloating and flatulence
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sore anus
The side effects usually clear up after passing a stool. However, you should see your GP or a pharmacist if they bother you or don’t subside.
Taking Movicol in large quantities or for extended periods of time can cause an imbalance of electrolytes in your blood. This can be very dangerous, and you should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Severe diarrhoea or vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Breathing difficulties
- Swollen legs, feet or ankles
- Irregular heartbeat
How should I store Movicol?
Movicol should be stored in a dry, cool environment that does not exceed 25°C.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.
Important: We advise you to always read the patient information leaflet inside the medication box, as the generic medication may not always entirely match the patient information leaflet listed. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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Content last updated:
02 Feb 2023