Miralax is a non-prescription osmotic laxative used to relieve constipation. Though the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits its use by adults, the use of Miralax for kids should be regulated. Miralax is the trade name of the drug containing polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG 3350), a water-soluble drug. PEG 3350 enables the bowel to retain more water, resulting in softer stool that is easier to pass. Some other brand names of PEG 3350 are MiraLax, Lax-A-Day, GlycoLax, and RestoraLAX (1) (2).
Read this article to learn about the dosage, benefits, possible side effects, and alternatives to Miralax for children.
Uses Of Miralax
Miralax is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless powder mixed with four to eight ounces of liquid and consumed to help with bowel movement (3). The stool softener helps in supplying the required amount of water to the colon. The water makes the stool softer, thereby making it easier to leave the body. When consumed in the correct dosage, it helps in relieving constipation (2).
Is Miralax Safe For Children?
The safety of Miralax is a topic of much debate amongst parents and doctors due to reports of some neurologic or behavioral symptoms in children.
The FDA has not approved its use in children due to a lack of clinical trials to evaluate its metabolism and safety when consumed for a prolonged period (4).
Here, it is important to note that not having FDA approval does not mean that the drug is not safe for use. Instead, it suggests that the manufacturer has not tested the drug in very large trials on children. Many factors determine the FDA approval, such as funding availability and ethical issues while running trials on children (2).
Although Miralax is available over-the-counter, it is recommended that you use it only under a pediatrician’s guidance.
Dosage Of Miralax For Children
Do not administer Miralax to your child without a doctor’s consent. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate dosage for your child depending on their age, weight, the severity of constipation, etc.
Seattle Children’s Hospital recommends the below dosages for children (5).
|Child’s weight in kilograms||Child’s weight in pounds||Dose of MiraLAX powder (1 cap = 17 grams)||Amount of water or juice to be used to mix the powder|
|10 to 14.9kg||22 to 32lb||½ cap||4 to 6oz (½ to ¾ cup)|
|15 to 19.9kg||33 to 43lb||¾ cap||4 to 6oz (½ to ¾ cup)|
|20 to 24.9kg||44 to 54lb||1 cap||6 to 8oz (¾ to 1 cup)|
|25 to 29.9kg||55 to 65lb||1¼ cap||8oz (1 cup)|
Side Effects Of Miralax In Children
- Loose, watery, or frequent bowel movements
Does Miralax Have Behavioral Effects On Children?
PEG 3350 is a large compound that usually does not get absorbed by the intestines. However, concerns exist over the formation of compounds such as ethylene glycol or diethylene glycol when it breaks down in the body.
Research is being done to see if these smaller compounds accumulate in the body and cause any adverse effects on prolonged use, as some parents have reported neurologic or behavioral symptoms in children after the usage of Miralax.
The FDA has received reports of the following symptoms in children who used Miralax (6).
- Sensory disturbances
- Mood swings
The FDA is looking for more evidence to establish if Miralax is responsible for these symptoms as current pieces of evidence are inconclusive (2).
Alternatives To Miralax For Children
There are several other drugs to manage constipation in children. Your pediatrician may provide you with an option from one of the following (7).
|Docusate||Colace, Pedia-Lax, Dulcolax|
|Magnesium hydroxide||Pedia-Lax chewable tablets, Phillips milk of magnesia|
|Glycerin suppositories||Pedia-Lax glycerin suppositories|
|Senna||Fletcher’s laxative for kids, Little remedies for tummys|
|Bisacodyl||Dulcolax laxative tablets, Dulcolax laxative suppositories|
Note: Do not use any of these medicines without a pediatrician’s consent.
In addition to the medicines, you may try some age-old successful techniques for bowel clearance, such as
- Providing the child a fiber-rich diet including fruits, vegetables, prunes, figs, beans, and lentils. You may also read about some gut-friendly foods here.
- Working on the potty seat Get them a potty seat that is stable and accurate in size, and give them a footstool.
- Making sure the child drinks ample water to keep the poop soft and moving in the gut.
- Encouraging the child to lead an active lifestyle to get the poop moving in the gut.
Though the Food and Drug Administration did not approve Miralax for kids and is neither banned, it is always better to take your little one to the doctor when they have constipation or other issues instead of giving them the drug. The doctor will examine the symptoms and go through the medical history before prescribing the medicines with the right dosage. Although there are no serious side effects of the drug, stop giving it if you notice any unusual signs and symptoms and consult the medical professional.
- Miralax is a stool softener that prevents constipation and helps in smooth bowel movement.
- While FDA does not approve the use of Miralax for children, pediatricians may prescribe it for your child after weighing risks and benefits.
- Miralax may have side effects such as abdominal troubles, including frequent bowel movements, bloating, cramping, and gas.
- What Are Osmotic Laxatives and How Do They Work?
- Polyethylene Glycol 3350 (PEG 3350) Frequently Asked Questions.
- Constipation: every parent’s favorite topic.
- PEG 3350; North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology.
- Severe or Chronic Constipation: Polyethylene Glycol (Miralax) Dosage Table.
- Sunny Z. Hussain, et al. (2019). Probable neuropsychiatric toxicity of polyethylene glycol: roles of media, internet and the caregivers. DOI:
- Over-the-Counter Medications for Kids – Part 2: Constipation, Gas/Indigestion And Probiotics.