Constipation is a common problem in young children, especially in children on the autism spectrum and those who take any medication for behavioral problems and developmental disabilities. What many parents still do not know is that the most commonly suggested medication for this problem called MiraLAX by Bayer can cause severe neuro-psychiatric problems in children and worsen existing ones.
- The FDA has received more than tens of thousands of reports of adverse effects of MiraLAX
- Young children experience aggression, tics, and even seizures.
- It is believed to be linked to at least 100 deaths.
- The concerning ingredient in MiraLAX is PEG 3350, and it is also in anti-freeze.
- It hasn’t been officially approved for people under 17 years old, yet is prescribed to children all the time.
- It is not recommended or longer than 7 days, yet many take it for years.
Children Whose Behavior Drastically Changed With MiraLAX
Media has previously been flooded with stories of children whose behavior has drastically changed for the worse after years and sometimes after just a few days of taking MiraLAX. The total amount of reports that the FDA received highlighting this issue as of June 2018 was over 20,000.
In recent years the FDA began investigating possible harm caused by PEG 3350, aka Polyethylene Glycol, but “few advancements (have been) made” according to the website Drug-Injury.com.
One of these causes was a then-8-year-old girl named Carmen whose issues with constipation started at just 4 months old, reported ABC News in April 2018. After nothing was helping, her pediatrician prescribed MiraLAX when she was just one year old. She took this medicine every single day, and by the age of two, she was taking 5 capfuls a day. This regimen lasted for five more years.
That’s when things turned for the worse. Carmen’s grandma Norma Eggleston started notice big changes in her granddaughter’s behavior.
“If you would get too close to her, she would hit you, she would bite you, she would pinch. She would have these uncontrollable tics, um, like throat clearing,” she said.
Carmen has developmental issues, but Norma said it was MiraLAX that caused her neurological symptoms. This was confirmed when 50 percent of them were gone after just one month of stopping MiraLAX.
Today, no longer on MiraLAX, the 8-year-old Carmen is a happy, smiling, and bubbly girl.
“All of her tics are gone, all of her aggression is gone. She is a happy child,” Eggleston said.
Carmen is not alone in her story.
Mike Koehler from Wisconsin said he noticed severe behavioral changes in his son Bradley after 5 years of MiraLAX. Bradley had tics, uncontrollable body movements, and even seizures.
When Bradley was taken off MiraLAX, his seizures stopped immediately, and other health issues improved.
“It is really troublesome the medical community can just prescribe this drug like water in our children,” Koehler said.
Koehler and over 25,000 parents have continued over the years to try to warn others on the dangers of MiraLAX issue in a Facebook group called “Parents Against MiraLAX.”
Their stories started coming out since 2015, yet nothing has changed since then.
Stories of more children losing their healthy childhoods because of MiraLAX from ABC 7 News in 2017:
MiraLAX’s Active Ingredient Is Likely To Blame
The ingredient in question that is likely the cause of all of these troubles is the very main ingredient in MiraLAX— polyethylene glycol or PEG 3350.
The FDA believes that PEG 3350 is a polymer that is too big to be absorbed by a human body. Yet, thousands of stories paint a different picture.
One problem is that it has never been studied long term as it is only approved for a short-term use. Yet off-label prescriptions are extremely common, and children end up taking this drug for many years.
The second problem is that there are more cases of behavioral and developmental issues in children than ever. It is yet unknown which drugs can trigger these problems in at-risk children or worsen already existing symptoms.
When it comes to autism spectrum disorders, there is a long time discussion if it is in some ways linked to gastrointestinal problems. MiraLAX hitting the gut may be fueling these issues or even triggering them.
The safest solution for constipation for any children may very well be to avoid MiraLAX and rely on natural and alternative solutions.
Better Ways To Treat Constipation
- Magnesium is one of essential minerals for the body. It has a laxative effect by relaxing the intestinal muscles and by also attracting water, which softens the stool.
- Mineral oil can be used as a natural lubricant to help relieve constipation. It can be taken internally, or used as an enema.
- There are common home remedies to try such as prune juice (effective enough to be used in hospitals), organic coconut oil, drinking ginger and honey solution, and taking warm baths among others.
- Drinking more fluids and consuming more fiber is always important for preventing constipation.
- For adults, Oxy-Powder by the Global Healing Center is a great short term natural solution. Consult a health professional before using it for children.
Recommended reading about children’s health:
This article was first written in 2018 and updated in 2022.