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Psyllium

pronounced as(sil' i yum)

Why is this medication prescribed?

Psyllium, a bulk-forming laxative, is used to treat constipation. It absorbs liquid in the intestines, swells, and forms a bulky stool, which is easy to pass.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Psyllium comes as a powder, granules, capsule, liquid, and wafer to take by mouth. It usually is taken one to three times daily. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take psyllium exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

The powder and granules must be mixed with 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of a pleasant tasting liquid, such as fruit juice, right before use. Chew wafers thoroughly. For psyllium to work properly and to prevent side effects, you must drink at least 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of liquid when you take it.

Do not take psyllium for longer than 1 week unless your doctor tells you to.

Other uses for this medicine

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Your doctor also may prescribe psyllium to treat diarrhea or high cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

What special precautions should I follow?

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Before taking psyllium,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to psyllium or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins. Do not take digoxin (Lanoxin), salicylates (aspirin), or nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Furadantin, Macrobid) within 3 hours of taking psyllium.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes mellitus, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, rectal bleeding, intestinal blockage, or difficulty swallowing.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking psyllium, call your doctor.
  • tell your pharmacist or doctor if you are on a low-sugar or low-sodium diet.
  • be careful not to breathe in psyllium powder when mixing a dose. It can cause allergic reactions when accidentally inhaled.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

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To prevent constipation, drink plenty of fluids, exercise regularly, and eat a high-fiber diet, including whole-grain (e.g., bran) cereals, fruits, and vegetables.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

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If you are taking scheduled doses of psyllium, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

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Psyllium may cause side effects. If you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • difficulty breathing

  • stomach pain

  • difficulty swallowing

  • skin rash

  • itching

  • nausea

  • vomiting

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

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Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

What other information should I know?

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Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about taking this medicine.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

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  • Alramucil®
  • Cilium®
  • Fiberall®
  • Genfiber®
  • Hydrocil®
  • Konsyl®
  • Maalox Daily Fiber Therapy®
  • Metamucil®
  • Natural Fiber Therapy®
  • Natural Vegetable®
  • Perdiem Fiber®
  • Reguloid®
  • Serutan®
  • Syllact®
  • Uni-Laxative®
  • V-Lax®

Brand names of combination products

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  • Modane Bulk® (containing Glucose, Psyllium)
  • Perdiem® (containing Psyllium, Senna)
  • Syllamalt® (containing Malt soup extract, Psyllium)

Last Revised - 10/01/2010

ASHP Logo American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc. Disclaimer

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.