Hudson Valley Parent

HVP May 2015

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34 Hudson Valley Parent ■ May 2015 By BRIAN PJ CRONIN W hen it comes to chronically constipated children, there may not be such a thing as a "miracle drug." But for many parents, the laxative Miralax comes close. It's available as both a prescrip- tion and over-the-counter, so it's easy to get a hold of. It's odorless, tasteless, and dissolves easily in juice or water; so even finicky children have no problem drinking it down. And most importantly, it works time and time again. But over the past few years, questions have been raised about the drug's safety when administered to children, especially over a long- term period. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recently com- missioned a research team at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to study whether active ingredients in Miralax might be might be harm- ful to kids. With all the controversy surrounding the drug lately, many parents and pediatricians are now hesitating to use it. We asked pediatric gastroenterol- ogist Dr. Puneet Gupta of the Diges- tive Disease Center of the Hudson Valley what he thinks of this oft-pre- scribed treatment for constipation in children and adults. "Miralax has been out for a long time," says Gupta. "It's been used extensively in both children and adults, not just for constipation but for colonoscopy prep and things like that. There's lots of evidence and studies that say it's safe." Miralax, as well as similar gener- ics distributed under different names but containing the same active in- gredient known as PEG 3350 (short for polyethylene glycol 3350), was never actually intended to be used by children. It's an adult laxative, meant to be used for no more than a week. That means that children who take the laxative regularly may be absorbing an enormous amount of PEG 3350 into their bloodstream. Researchers are now looking further into Miralax's safety after receiving reports that some children who frequently take Miralax have developed a host of neuropsychiatric side effects including seizures, tics, Is Miralax® too risky for kids? Local expert discusses controversy over laxative use and children

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