Movicol for constipation

This leaflet is for parents and carers about how to use this medicine in children. Our information may differ from that provided by the manufacturers, because their information usually relates to adults. 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 medicine

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

Why is it important for my child to take Movicol?

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 a variety of flavours. Each sachet contains 13.8 g of Movicol.
  • Movicol-Half powder sachets 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 about how much to give.

How should I give Movicol?

Movicol powder

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 (about half a glass of water) per sachet for Movicol or at least 62.5 mL (about a quarter glass of water) 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 of Movicol, do not give them another dose. Wait until the next normal dose.

If your child is sick again, seek advice from your family doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or hospital. They will decide what to do based on your child’s condition and the specific medicine involved.

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?

You are unlikely to cause harm if you give an extra dose of Movicol by mistake. If you are concerned that you may have given too much, contact your doctor or local NHS services (details at end of leaflet). Have the medicine or packaging 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.

There may sometimes be other side effects that are not listed above. If you notice anything unusual and are concerned, contact your doctor. You can report any suspected side effects to a UK safety scheme at

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 and complementary medicines.

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

Do not give Movicol without plenty of water. It will not work properly and you risk causing dehydration.

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

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.
  • 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 medicines you have at home have not reached the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date on the packaging. Give old medicines to your pharmacist to dispose of.

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

Where should I keep this medicine?

  • Keep the medicine in a cupboard, away from heat and direct sunlight.
  • It does not need to be kept in the fridge.
  • Make sure that children cannot see or reach the medicine.
  • Keep the medicine in the container it came in.
  • Stir it well before giving to your child. You can keep a mixture of Movicol powder and water in the fridge for up to 6 hours.

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.

England: NHS 111

Tel 111

Scotland: NHS 24

Northern Ireland: NI Direct

Wales: NHS 111 Wales

ERIC: The Children's Bowel and Bladder Charity

NICE - Information for parents and carers about constipation

Copyright disclaimer

Version [2]. © NPPG, RCPCH and WellChild, all rights reserved. Review by November 2017.

The primary source for the information in this leaflet is the British National Formulary for Children. For details on any other sources used for this leaflet, please contact us through our website,

We take great care to make sure that the information in this leaflet is correct and up-to-date. However, medicines can be used in different ways for different patients. It is important that you ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about something. This leaflet is about the use of these medicines in the UK, and may not apply to other countries. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG), WellChild and the contributors and editors cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of information, omissions of information, or any actions that may be taken as a consequence of reading this leaflet.