Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that treats occasional constipation and restores regularity. Psyllium also is available as a dietary supplement. It may be written as psyllium or psyllium husk, but it is the same ingredient. Psyllium can be found in OTC laxative powders, pills, and wafers.
When used as an OTC laxative medicine, psyllium is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to label directions. It is important to drink plenty of liquid when taking an OTC medicine containing psyllium. Taking a psyllium laxative without adequate fluid may cause the throat or esophagus to swell and choking may occur. If you develop chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty in swallowing or breathing after taking the medicine, get immediate medical attention.
*Psyllium may not be contained in all products sold under this brand. Please read the OTC Drug Facts label carefully for active ingredient information for specific products.
- An allergic reaction may occur in people sensitive to psyllium.
- If you are taking an oral prescription drug, take the OTC psyllium medicine at least two hours before or two hours after the prescription drug.
- Some products may also contain calcium.
- Changes in bowel habits or minor bloating may occur.
- You should drink plenty of fluids.
- You should never take more medicine or for a longer period of time than what the label says.
- You have difficulty in swallowing.
- You have a sudden change in bowel habits that last for two weeks.
- You are experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
- Your constipation lasts for more than seven days.
- Rectal bleeding occurs.
- You take too much. Immediately contact a doctor or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
If you have questions about any of the medicines you are taking or if you have any unexpected side effects, talk to a healthcare professional. And of course, keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
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