Health Matters

5 Facts on Miralax for Kids

Jan. 20, 2015
Last September, the Food and Drug Administration awarded a grant to a team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study potentially harmful effects of the active ingredient of Miralax (polyethylene glycol 3350), a laxative commonly prescribed to children with constipation.
young girl drinking glass of water
UR Medicine pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Prita Mohanty shares five facts about Miralax for parents and others who care for children.
  • Miralax has been found to be an effective treatment for constipation, a common childhood problem. Eighteen studies covering more than 1,600 children have suggested that polyethylene glycol preparations increase the frequency of bowel motions in constipated children compared to other medications.
  • Miralax does have documented side effects, including nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea and flatulence. There is no credible evidence that links Miralax use to autism. 
  • When prescribing medications, physicians carefully weigh the medicine’s benefits against the potential side effects. If a doctor prescribes Miralax, they have determined that the advantages to a child outweigh the potential risks. 
  • There is evidence suggesting that if patients use a laxative, such as Miralax, and discontinue use prematurely, then a prompt recurrence of symptoms can occur, likely disrupting the treatment. Before discontinuing use of Miralax, a parent should consult their child’s doctor. 
  • Further research would be helpful to investigate the optimum duration of treatment with Miralax in children with constipation.
Prita Mohanty, MD
Prita Mohanty, M.D., is a pediatric gastroenterologist at UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.