Even though the Mirlax label is not approved for anyone under the age of 17, pediatricians have been prescribing this constipation remedy to young children for years. Once thought gentle enough for daily use, ongoing complaints from distraught parents has the FDA looking into the safety of the product. Through the commissioning of a research team at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the regulatory agency hopes to learn if there is any merit to the alleged claims that the over-the-counter product has produced “neuropsychiatric problems” with young children. The new study has families and family doctors asking the question, “Is MiraLax safe?”
Why have so many gone off-label with this product?
While other laxatives such as Dulcolax, Senokot, and Ex-Lax have always been taboo for children, MiraLax was believed by many to be different due to the way in which it works. Many other popular laxatives are actually stimulants and directly affect the nerves and muscles in the colon. MiraLax works by pulling water already in the body into the colon to help with constipation, but it’s the active ingredient of polyethylene glycol, specifically PEG 3350, that now has many parents up in arms. Going back as far as 2008, tests done by the FDA showed that some batches of MiraLax had either degraded to or contained levels of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol—the same ingredients found in most brands of antifreeze and toxic to humans.
What effect is it having on our children?
Many parents are alleging that routine exposure to the medication over time has caused their children to go from happy and laughing to dealing with adult-associated issues such as rage, paranoia, phobias and overall anxiety. Worse yet, many report that discontinuation of the medicine does not alleviate the psychiatric side effects.
As a parent, what can you do?
While the official study has yet to make claims or release final results, many are now coming forward to support the families who might be suffering from such exposure with a Facebook group titled Parents Against Miralax. For those parents whose children still suffer from constipation, it’s recommended that natural ways to relieve the issue are employed until the FDA offers more details, this includes giving your child prune juice and foods that are high in fiber.
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I am the owner and admin of the FB page. We grew from 2300 concerned parents, to over 16,000 in ten days. The worries are real, the horrible effects it has on our children is real, and the ignorance of our trusted doctors about this chemical are real. While parents are ultimately responsible for their child's health, we go to doctor's with the impression they are well-educated on every intervention they recommend and will only offer us solutions that will help our child, not harm. My son was significantly affected by PEG 3350 (the active ingredient). The details are not necessary here, but after a long, emotional, and costly road, he is a thriving 19 year old. Our goal at PAM is to help others achieve the success we, and others, have had upon waking up to the real dangers of PEG 3350.
I'd look into antibiotics that have the same ingredient in them, or really any prescription drug that might have it.
Heather, you're spot on! Many of the drugs today have a coating of polyethylene glycol on them to help the drug penetrate the blood brain barrier; http://www.nature.com/scibx/journal/v5/n36/full/scibx.2012.967.html
So now the researchers, chemists along with the medical community, find miralax to be safe for use in our children? This maddening approach to treating constipation has to stop.
Amy M Hollis
I am a friend of Jeannie Ward and on the Parents against miralax facebook page. My child was affected by this terrible poison as well. Feel free to contact me for more details.
Amy M Hollis
I am a parent who's daughter had been affected with this awful poison. To see your baby once happy, full of life, slept through the night and then out of no where anger, rage,paranoia, phobias, night terrors took over your baby. And all you an think of for 3 long hurtful stressful years is WHAT ON EARTH HAPPEN TO MY SWEET CARING LOVING BABY. WELL THIS WAS MINE AND MY DAUGHTRS LIFE. I JUST WANTSOMEONE ANYONE TO HEAR MY STORIES OR JUST HEAR ME OUT!!!! CAISE IF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN THROUGH WHAT MYSELF AND OTHER FAMILIES HAVE WITH OUR CHILD THEN YOU COULD NEVER UNDERSTAND THE HEARTACHES OF WHAT WE WENT THROUGH AND STILL ARE GOING THROUGH. I JUST WANT TO GET THESE DOCTORS TO STOP GIVING OUR BABIES THIS GOD FOR SAKE POISON!!!!! MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH AND I WANT ANSWERS, ANSWER THAT I WILL PROBABLY NEVER WILL GET ANSWERED BUT AT LEAST I WANT TO SHARE MY STORIES AND GET OT OUT THERE!!!!
My daughter has never been the same, even after stopping Miralax. Her paranoia and anxiety got so bad that she was injuring herself. We had to seek psychiatric treatment for her well-being. This has been a nightmare!
Something has to be done. After 8 years on miralax, I watched my bubbly little girl go from happy to suicidal over the years. It's increased her paranoia and when I've questioned doctors I've only got the speech on how safe it is.
My son who prescribed this for his ongoing constipation when he was just 2 years old... The first week he was on it caused him significant stomach pain where we stopped it and notified the doctor. When we couldn't find an alternative, we reluctantly put him back on it and it caused severe facial swelling over Christmas weekend a few years ago! After expressing concerns and switching doctors, we were told by the new doctor that it should never be given to a child and if I did, it should only be no longer than 3 or 4 days max. Needless to say, we found PAM and after 3 years of healing his poor, antibiotic filled gut, he is now thriving.
My daughter suffered these side effects while on this drug: rage, anxiety, paranoia, night terrors, loss of focus and oral dysphasia. It was aweful to see her suffer for the 4 years she took it, but not know why. Thank God, she has now recovered, and by sharing her story, we have been able to help countless other children who have had similar side effects. Doctors don't seem to be taking this seriously, so it is important for parents to speak out about their experiences so other parents can be well informed.
My son suffered from headaches, anxiety and rages on miralax. As,soon as we stopped the drug, all of those symptoms lessened
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