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Movicol for constipation

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Movicol for constipation

This leaflet is about the use of Movicol for chronic constipation and faecal impaction (severe constipation) in children.

This leaflet has been written specifically about the use of this medicine in children. The information may differ from that provided by the manufacturer. Please read this leaflet carefully. Keep it somewhere safe so that you can read it again.

Do not give Movicol powder without water. It will not work properly and risk causing dehydration.

Name of drug

Common brands: Movicol®, Movicol®-Half, Movicol® Paediatric Plain

Why is it important for my child to take this medicine?

If constipation (difficulty doing a poo) is severe, the faeces (poo) may become hardened and difficult to pass (this is called faecal impaction). Constipation can make your child feel very poorly.
Movicol is a type of laxative. It should help to produce a comfortable bowel motion (poo) even if your child has been constipated for a long time. The aim of treatment is that your child produces soft stools (poo) regularly.

What is Movicol available as?

  • Movicol is a powder that comes in sachets.
  • Movicol comes in three flavours: lemon and lime, chocolate or plain. Each sachet contains 13.8 g of Movicol.
  • Movicol-Half powder is lemon-and-lime flavoured. Each sachet contains 6.9 g of Movicol.
  • Both these contain the artificial sweetener acesulfame potassium (E950).
  • Movicol Paediatric Plain contains no colours, flavours or sweeteners. Each sachet contains 6.9 g of Movicol.

When should I give Movicol?

  • Movicol can be given at any time of day.
  • Your doctor will develop a plan that tells you how many sachets of Movicol you can give your child in a 12-hour day. Your doctor will explain how to adjust the plan so that your child produces regular soft stools.
  • Your doctor will also tell you the maximum number of sachets that your child can have in one day.

How much should I give?

Your doctor will work out the amount of Movicol (the dose) that is right for your child. The dose will be shown on the medicine label.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s instructions.

How should I give it?

Movicol must be given with water. Choose an amount of water that your child can drink in one go. This amount must be at least 125 mL for Movicol (60 mL for Movicol-Half or Movicol Paediatric Plain).
If your child does not drink enough water with it, the medicine will not work properly and your child may become dehydrated.

  • Open the sachet and pour the contents into the water.
  • Stir well until all the powder has dissolved and the mixture is clear or slightly hazy.
  • You can add fruit squash to the drink if your child doesn’t like the taste. The medicine will still work properly.
  • Make sure your child drinks it all. If they cannot drink it all in one go, they can drink it over about 30 minutes. It may help to use a straw.
  • If your child needs to take the medicine at school, you can make the mixture at home for your child to take to school. You must tell the school that you are doing this.

When should the medicine start working?

It may be a few hours, or sometimes a day or more, before your child produces a soft stool (poo). This will depend on how bad the constipation is and its cause. Your doctor may give you a plan to give more sachets in a day if the Movicol does not appear to be working at first.

What if my child is sick (vomits)?

  • If your child is sick less than 30 minutes after having a dose of Movicol, give them the same dose again.
  • If your child is sick more than 30 minutes after having a dose, you do not need to give them another dose. Wait at least 4 hours before giving any more Movicol.

What if I forget to give it?

If you miss a dose, give your child the missed dose as soon as you remember.
You must give each sachet with one glass of water. Do not put two sachets together into one drink.

What if I give too much?

It is unlikely that you will give your child too much Movicol. If you think you may have given your child too much Movicol, contact your doctor or NHS Direct (0845 4647 in England and Wales; 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland). Have the packet with you if you telephone for advice.

Are there any possible side-effects?

We use medicines to make our children better, but sometimes they have other effects that we don’t want (side-effects).

Side-effects you must do something about

If your child is sick (vomits) often, or if the vomit is dark green or brown, they may have a blockage of the gut. Do not give your child any more Movicol, and contact your doctor straight away.

  • If your child feels weak, seems very thirsty and has a headache, they may be dehydrated. Contact your doctor for advice.
Other side-effects you need to know about
  • Your child may have stomach ache, feel sick (nausea) or be sick (vomit) or may feel bloated. They may also get diarrhoea. These effects are more likely if they have several sachets of Movicol in one day to treat severe constipation. These side-effects can also be related to the constipation. They should settle down once your child starts to pass soft stools regularly.
  • If your child is feeling sick or vomits only once or twice, continue to give Movicol but give it less often during the day.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as Movicol?

  • You can give your child medicines that contain paracetamol or ibuprofen, unless your doctor has told you not to.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving any other medicines to your child. This includes herbal or complementary medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know about this medicine?

  • Movicol must be given with water. Otherwise the medicine will not work and may make your child dehydrated.

Never give the powder without water.

General advice about medicines

  • Only give this medicine to your child. Never give it to anyone else, even if their condition appears to be the same, as this could do harm.

If you think someone else may have taken the medicine by accident, contact your doctor straight away.

  • Make sure that you always have enough medicine. Order a new prescription at least 2 weeks before you will run out.
  • Make sure that the medicine you have at home has not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

Where I should keep this medicine?

  • Keep the Movicol sachets in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight. The sachets do not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Stir it well before giving to your child. You can keep a mixture of Movicol powder and water in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.

Who to contact for more information

Your child’s doctor, pharmacist or nurse will be able to give you more information about Movicol and about other medicines used to treat constipation and faecal impaction.

You can also get useful information from: 
Publication date: 
08/12/2011