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Movicol Plain

Movicol is a laxative. It works by speeding up the bowels and letting food pass through the gut quicker. This means that your stools retain more fluid, making them softer and easier to pass.

There are many types of laxatives available, but Movicol belongs to a family of medicines called osmotic laxatives. They can be used as the only treatment for constipation, or in conjunction with other treatments.

Movicol comes in sachets, which resemble a white powder when you pour out the contents. They’re mixed with water and consumed. Depending on your condition and the severity of symptoms, you can take between 1 and 8 sachets a day until the problem has resolved itself.

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Movicol Plain
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  • Pain in your rectum
  • Bright red blood when passing stools
  • Dark blood or clots when passing stools
  • Soiling in your underwear
  • Unexplained weight loss
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  • You will read the Patient Information Leaflet supplied with your medication
  • You will contact us and inform your GP of your medication if you experience any side effects of treatment, if you start new medication, or if your medical conditions change during treatment
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Movicol is a laxative. It works by speeding up the bowels and letting food pass through the gut quicker. This means that your stools retain more fluid, making them softer and easier to pass.

There are many types of laxatives available, but Movicol belongs to a family of medicines called osmotic laxatives. They can be used as the only treatment for constipation, or in conjunction with other treatments.

Movicol comes in sachets, which resemble a white powder when you pour out the contents. They’re mixed with water and consumed. Depending on your condition and the severity of symptoms, you can take between 1 and 8 sachets a day until the problem has resolved itself.

Details

What is Movicol?

Movicol is a medicine that’s used for the treatment of chronic constipation. It’s part of the laxative family of medicines and helps to relieve the condition by making sure your stools retain more water. Because of this, it’s also a suitable treatment for faecal impaction, though if you’re using the medicine for this condition, you should first have it diagnosed by a doctor.

Movicol is a type of osmotic laxative, which means it works by speeding up the process of food passing through your gut, encouraging the stools to retain more water. This makes them softer and easier to pass, reducing straining and eliminating hard, dry stools that are characteristic of constipation.

Ultimately, Movicol helps you to achieve a comfortable bowel movement regardless of how long you’ve been constipated.

Why am I constipated?

Constipation can have several causes. Whilst it’s not often a serious condition, it can be uncomfortable and painful, especially if the stools are particularly hard or dry. It can cause other complications such as anal fissures and headaches (these can happen when you strain too hard).

Some of the causes of your constipation could be:

  • A low fibre diet
  • Side effects of some medications (especially painkillers like codeine etc)
  • A narrowing or blockage of the colon
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Hormonal disturbances
  • Neurologic conditions

Can I take Movicol?

Most people are able to take Movicol, but it might not be the best solution for some people. Some conditions can mimic constipation or faecal impaction, but movicol might cause more damage in these instances. If you have any of the following problems of conditions, you should speak to your pharmacist before purchasing movicol:

  • Blockage in the gut (an ileus)
  • Perforated gut wall
  • Severe inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s or toxic megacolon
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients in Movicol

You might also need to stay away from using Movicol if you’re using any drugs for epilepsy, as these might not work as well if you start treatment with Movicol.

What are the side effects of Movicol?

Movicol is a medicine that affects your gut, so it has some side effects that might occur in that area.

In some rare cases, people have experienced an allergic reaction to Movicol where they struggle to breathe. This is a medical emergency, so if you experience similar symptoms as a result of the medicine, seek urgent treatment and stop taking the sachets. Other, more common side effects include:

  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Stomach ache
  • Wind
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sore anus
  • Diarrhoea

Some people may also experience skin irritation or a rash as a result of using Movicol. This is a different type of allergic reaction to the one mentioned above, but you should still stop taking the medicine and seek medical advice.

How do I take Movicol?

Movicol comes in sachets that look like a white powder when you open them. The ingredients include:

  • Sodium chloride
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Potassium chloride
  • Macrogol 3350

Each sachet should be mixed with ¼ of a pint of water and drank. The amount of sachets you have per day depends on the condition it’s treating and the severity of your symptoms.

For constipation, anywhere between 1-3 sachets is recommended per day. This should be enough to help you achieve a comfortable bowel movement. If you feel you only need one or two sachets, don’t take the third as this may cause diarrhoea.

For faecal impaction, 8 sachets are recommended for treatment. These should be consumed within 6 hours, and you’re able to mix the full 8 sachets in a litre of water if this is easier than making separate drinks throughout the day.

You can take movicol with or without food, but just make sure you still drink plenty of fluids whilst taking the medication. You can take movicol for up to 2 weeks, but if your symptoms haven’t subsided within this time you may need to seek medical advice.

According to NHS guidelines, you can take movicol alongside other medicines that do a similar job such as bulk forming laxatives. Hough you may need to speak to your doctor or pharmacist before doing this.

Are there any alternatives?

There are several types of laxatives available both over the counter and on prescription. Some other types of medicines that can help to loosen your stools are:

  • Bulk laxatives: these work to increase the bulk of your stools by helping them to retain fluid
  • Stimulant laxatives: these types of laxative work by stimulating the nerves that are responsible for the muscles in the digestive tract. This speeds up the movement of your bowels
  • Stool softener laxatives: these just increase the fluid content of your stools

All laxatives aim to produce the same results – a more comfortable bowel movement. They generally work in the opposite way to many medicines that are used to treat diarrhoea, as laxatives aim to replenish water in the stools whilst diarrhoea medicines aim to draw the water back into the body and slow down the movement of food through the gut.

Will Movicol help me lose weight?

No. Movicol won’t help you to lose weight, but some people do use laxatives to try and shift some extra pounds.

This is a dangerous way of losing weight and is a form of the eating disorder, bulimia. If you think you may be struggling with your body image, or are showing symptoms of having an eating disorder, please make an urgent appointment with your GP as the effects of such a condition can cause serious consequences.

Dosage instructions
One sachet contains 13.8g of the assorted active ingredients, including 13.125g of macrogol. This is mixed with 125ml of water. For constipation, one to three sachets a day are taken.