Polyethylene Glycol 3350, Electrolytes, and Ascorbic Acid (Oral)

Polyethylene glycol 3350, ascorbic acid and electrolyte compound is given in oral format to patients who are about to undergo colonoscopy procedures.


Known by the brand name MoviPrep, this combination oral drug consists of polyethylene glycol 335, ascorbic acid and electrolytes. This drug is given to patients to provide a laxative effect that cleans out the bowel in preparation for a colonoscopy or barium x-ray procedure.

Doctors will prescribe this medication in a powder format that should be mixed with water to make one liter of solution for each dose. Typically, both liters of solution will be taken prior to the colonoscopy procedure; one after your evening meal and one the next morning the day of your procedure. Your dosing schedule could involve the entire dose taken in one sitting, which will be up to your doctor. The solution may be refrigerated to make it more palatable.

Polyethylene glycol, ascorbic acid and electrolytes draw large amounts of water from your body into your bowel, effectively creating a watery bowel movement that clears the intestines. The doctor will be better able to examine the bowel and intestines during your colonoscopy or barium x-ray after they have been completely cleared out.

A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure done in a clinic or hospital to examine the colon and rectum of a patient to determine a diagnosis for various problems involving the lower gastrointestinal tract. This exam is performed by the insertion of a long, flexible tubular instrument with a camera inside that transmits an image of your colon on a screen for examination.

Colonoscopy is used as a screening for colon cancer as well as to discover the reason for unexplained pain in the abdomen. Patients suffering from anemia or who show signs of blood in their stool may be scheduled for a colonoscopy. Occasionally, during the procedure, medical treatment for bleeding lesions or removal of polyps is performed as well.

Instead of the insertion of a camera into the colon, a barium x-ray fills the lower gastrointestinal tract with a contrast agent via an enema. The colon is then imaged via x-ray, which provides a detailed view of any concerns or conditions. The conditions examined for are much the same as the colonoscopy and the major difference is that colonoscopy allows for treatment during the procedure whereas a barium x-ray does not.

Conditions Treated

  • Constipation
  • Imaging preparation prior to colonoscopy or barium x-ray

Type Of Medicine

  • Laxative

Side Effects

The direct effect of this drug is to draw water from the rest of the body to the bowel, liquefying the contents for complete evacuation in order to provide a clear path for examination by a physician. In doing so, PEG 3350 Electrolyte Ascorbic Acid compound may also cause adverse health effects that patients should notify their doctor about. If you have the following symptoms, alert your medical professional:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach pressure or pain
  • Swollen stomach or abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Confused demeanor
  • Less urine or less frequent urination
  • Dizzy
  • Mouth is dry
  • Heart rhythm is rapid or irregular
  • Headache
  • Thirsty
  • No appetite
  • Cramps or pain in muscles
  • Numb feet, hands, fingers, mouth or lips with tingling sensations
  • Gasping for breath
  • Swollen hands, ankles or face
  • Fatigue
  • Weak muscles

The following side effects, while annoying, should be short in duration and be alleviated after the drug has left your body. The medical staff will let you know how to deal with or eliminate these symptoms, including:

  • Anal pain, burning or itching
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual cold feeling
  • General ill feeling
  • Increased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Very thirsty
  • Acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Heartburn
  • Upset stomach
  • Discomfort in the abdomen or stomach

You may experience still more side effects than those listed here. Alert your physician to any changes in your health after taking this combination therapy drug.


PEG with electrolytes and ascorbic acid arrives in a powder format that must be mixed with water to form a solution to be taken prior to your test. Use lukewarm water to mix two liters of the solution without adding anything else. Mix or shake the solution well and refrigerate it, which will make it taste better. Don't mix the solution more than one day prior to taking it.

After the solution is mixed and chilled, there are two dosage methods that may be recommended to you. Every patient has different requirements; therefore the way you are instructed to take the solution is something your doctor has tailored to your health and test requirements. Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter, being sure to read and review them so that you can ask for clarity on anything you don't understand fully.

You will be instructed not to consume any food or beverages for at least two hours prior to your barium x-ray or colonoscopy, unless your doctor has made an exception for you. Children will most likely have a different dosage than is listed below as determined by their health care professional.

PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid solution should be taken by following one of the methods below:

Split dosing method

The evening prior to the test, drink the first liter of solution over a one hour period followed by a half liter of clear liquid. The next morning before the text, drink liter number two of the solution over a one hour period followed by a half liter of clear liquid. Remember that your doctor will most likely instruct you not to drink or eat two hours before the test and allow enough time to comply with that instruction for your second dose.

Evening dosing method

On the evening before your barium x-ray or colonoscopy, you should drink the first liter of the solution over a one hour period. After about 90 minutes, you should consume the last liter of solution, doing so over a one hour period. Drink another liter of clear liquid after that.

It is important to remember that you will experience mild diarrhea or a loose stool about an hour after consuming your first 240 milliliters of the PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid solution.


All drug therapies come with risk factors that will be explained to you by your health care provider. You will also be given a patient leaflet that you should read completely and ask questions about if you don't understand the information clearly.

Hypersensitivity to other medications, certain foods, animals, artificial additives and dyes should be communicated to your health care provider to avoid any unwanted reactions to this medication. Inform your health care provider if you are taking any other medications including those that are available over the counter, vitamin and herbal therapies or holistic remedies.

Some medications are able to be used together without harm or reduced effectiveness of either drug; however, there are some drugs that should not be combined. The following drug should never be used with PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid:

  • Amantadine
  • Belladonna
  • Atropine
  • Benztropine
  • Belladonna Alkaloids
  • Clidinium
  • Biperiden
  • Dicyclomine
  • Darifenacin
  • Fesoterodine
  • Eplerenone
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Oxybutynin
  • Methscopolamine
  • Scopolamine
  • Procyclidine
  • Tolterodine
  • Solifenacin
  • Trospium
  • Trihexyphenidyl

The following medications, while known to interact adversely with PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid, may not be safe to stop taking suddenly. Your doctor may, however, alter the dosage or instructions on the frequency of the dosage if you are taking:

  • Amiloride
  • Alacepril
  • Benazepril
  • Amygdalin
  • Captopril
  • Canrenoate
  • Deferoxamine
  • Cilazapril
  • Enalaprilat
  • Delapril
  • Fosinopril
  • Enalapril Maleate
  • Indomethacin
  • Imidapril
  • Moexipril
  • Lisinopril
  • Perindopril
  • Pentopril
  • Ramipril
  • Quinapril
  • Spironolactone
  • Spirapril
  • Trandolapril
  • Temocapril
  • Zofenopril
  • Triamterene

Certain adverse effects of this medication could be magnified if you are taking:

  • Licorice
  • Indinavir

Your full medical history should be communicated to your physician in case you have diseases that would be dangerously affected by use of this drug. Specifically, the following health conditions have been known to become worse or limit the effectiveness of this medication:

  • Chest pain or angina
  • Imbalance of electrolytes
  • Imbalance of fluids
  • Recent cardiovascular events
  • Heart disease or rhythm issues
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Withdrawal from benzodiazepines such as clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam, alprazolam or Xanax
  • Dehydration
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Inflammatory bowel issues
  • Kidney disease
  • Seizures
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Retention of gastric contents
  • Intestinal blockage or perforation
  • Toxic colitis
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Phenylketonuria


Be alert for signs that this medication has dehydrated your body through its course of action. Symptoms include a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, vomiting, headache or dizziness.

If you are on other oral medications that have been approved by the physician prescribing PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid, avoid taking them in the 60 minutes before taking this medication.

No studies have been performed that provided concrete data in regard to use of PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid in the pediatric population. This medication has not been proven to be effective or safe for this age group. Use of this drug on children is up to the physician.

Geriatric patients should be able to use this medication without any additional warnings or any reduced effectiveness than experienced by adults. Those with health issues, however, may be more sensitive to the adverse effects of this drug.

With regard to use of PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid in women who are pregnant or women who are breastfeeding, there is no data to firmly establish safety or effectiveness here either. Each case must be decided based on the requirements of the patient and it is up to the physician to discuss all risks associated.

People with eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia, should not be prescribed PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid unless it is under direct supervision of a physician.

Patients who have intestinal problems such as ulcers, perforations or blockages should notify their physician of these issues prior to taking PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid solution. Patients with a gag reflex that is poor, either slow or sensitive, should also let their physician know this detail about themselves. Those who have metabolic issues such as kidney disease and those who have heart problems or seizures may not be candidates for use of this drug.

Patients diagnosed with phenylketonuria, a condition that allows excess phenylalanine to build up in the body, should not take this drug as they could be compromising their health and safety.

Store, mix and consume this medication exactly as prescribed for you. Do not mix it with anything other than water and do not add honey, sweeteners, juices or sugar. Do not consume anything other than clear liquids as instructed and nothing should be consumed at least two hours prior to your test. Shake the solution or mix prior to drinking. Drink exactly what your doctor has prescribed for a portion in the time interval specified for you.


Retain the original packaging that your PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid arrived in and use it to store this medication properly. Keep this medicine at room temperature, away from exposure to excessive light, heat or moisture. Do not allow PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid solution to freeze and do not use it if it has become frozen. This medication, as well as others, should be kept out of sight and reach of children and pets.

Do not mix the medication powder with anything but water, using a lukewarm temperature for easier mixing or shaking. Store the mixed solution in the refrigerator but, again, do not allow it to freeze. Plan on mixing your solution no more than one day ahead of time, as its effectiveness could deteriorate if mixed further ahead than that.

Expired or unused PEG electrolyte ascorbic acid dosages should be disposed of properly according to your physician's instructions for safety. If this is not provided to you by your physician, consult with your pharmacist on safe disposal practices.


Polyethylene glycol 3350 with electrolytes and ascorbic acid is a laxative drug that is prescribed by doctors for patients who are about to have a colonoscopy or barium x-ray procedure. By clearing the colon of any matter, PEG electrolyte and ascorbic acid gives a clearer picture to the doctor who is performing the exam, enabling them to better see any issues. Patients are given these tests as screenings for colon cancer and other serious medical issues, so providing a clear picture is very important.

PEG electrolyte and ascorbic acid arrives in powder form, to be mixed with water only. There are two dosing methods that may be prescribed; one is a two-part method beginning the evening before the test and the other is a single part method, all performed prior to testing. The solution should be consumed well after any other beverages or food and nothing should be consumed for at least two hours prior to the procedure. Patients can expect mild diarrhea within one hour of taking the solution, which will continue until the drug runs its course.

Patients often experience headache, nausea and vomiting or some stomach upset, pain or bloating. Signs of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance or cardiac event after taking this drug have been known to occur but are extremely rare. Pre-existing health conditions involving the heart, digestive tract or throat area can exacerbate unwanted effects. Informing your doctor and medical staff of your health history and all drugs that you are taking can ensure your safety and the effectiveness of taking this medication.

Read and understand all literature provided to you with your prescription, asking questions of your doctor or pharmacist should you need more clarity on any points. It is important to adhere to the dosing schedule written specifically for you by your physician. If, after your test is complete, you have any ill effects on your health or changes to your wellbeing, contact your health care professional immediately.

Store and mix the powdered medication exactly as written or instructed by your pharmacy professional, without mixing too far ahead of your dosage schedule, as the medication can lose effectiveness if combined with water and refrigerated too far ahead of time. Be sure to consume clear liquid with your dose of medication, no other liquids or food.

Last Reviewed:
March 26, 2018
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
Content Source: