MiraLAX Problems

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been conducting a study on polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG 3350), the active ingredient in MiraLAX, and its effect on a child’s brain. The study came about after reports that children have been experiencing behavioral problems after taking MiraLAX.

What is MiraLAX and how is it different?

MiraLAX is a laxative that. MiraLAX has branded itself as being different from other laxatives by having fewer side effects. The medication’s own website notes that it works with your body’s natural process to provide relief from constipation. It claims that working with the body prevents harsh side effects. This contrasts from stimulant laxative pills, which forcefully stimulates nerves in your colon.

While MiraLAX is primarily for adults, some pediatricians have recommended it for children experiencing constipation.

Potential kidney injuries?

shutterstock_1300644621-229x300MiraLax is composed of polyethylene glycol-3350.  This compound is composed of individual units of ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is a well-known cause of oxalate nephropathy. Polyethylene glycol once inside the body is capable of causing acute kidney injury from oxalate nephropathy. The literature contains multiple pieces of evidence to provide biologically plausible mechanisms linking oral ingestion of polyethylene glycol-3350 to acute kidney injury from oxalate nephropathy.

2012 petition concerning MiraLAX

In 2012, a petition was filed urged the FDA to issue a MiraLAX recall. It also called for the inclusion of a black box warning on labels that dissuades against MiraLAX use on children. This warning would also note neuropsychiatric side effects in children that may result from taking medications that include PEG 3350. It also called for the investigation of the relationship between PEG 3350 and adverse health effects due to toxicity from ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, and polyethylene glycol.

This effort did not go far.  Now MiraLAX is available over-the-counter.

Local news reports on MiraLAX’s potential harmful effects on children

Local news throughout the country has reported various claims that claim that children have developed neuro-psychiatric problems after taking MiraLAX. Reports have come out of various different metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, Richmond, and Detroit that claim that children displayed more aggressive and irritable behavior after taking MiraLAX.  Is this solid evidence of a causal relationship?  No.  But it is a cause for concern.

Current MiraLAX study

The study initially started in 2014, when the FDA agreed to fund it. It is being conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

Previous studies

According to CHOP, all previous studies that examined PEG 3350’s effects on children appeared to show that PEG 3350 treatment in children is considered safe. The study lengths varied between 4 weeks to 30 month. A 2008 Journal of Pediatrics noted that one child’s psychiatric illness was worse; however, he received a placebo and not the laxative. While these studies hint that PEG 3350 is safe for children, again we just do not know for sure.

What should I do if I suspect that MiraLAX may be causing my child’s neuropsychiatric issues?

If you think your child might have experienced harmful side effects from MiraLAXnotify your doctor or other healthcare professional immediately.

Are There Any Lawsuits Regarding MiraLAX?

There have been MiraLAX kidney injury lawsuits and some lawyers are making a push for these cases.  Our firm is not handling MiraLAX cases.  If you are looking for an attorney for your MiraLAX claim, there are just a Google click away.

It is important to remember that no one is saying there should be a MiraLax recall, at least not that I have heard.  But should there be a warning that says that there is a risk of oxalate nephropathy,  irreversible kidney injury, or agitation in children from using MiraLAX?   I guess this CHOP study will be a step towards that.