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Sorbitol, Oral Sweetener, Laxative: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage

What is oral sorbitol? What are the uses for oral sorbitol?

Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol naturally found in fruits. Its chemical properties allow it to have multiple actions within the body. Its sweetening properties allow it to be used as a low-calorie sweetener in medicinal solutions. Its hyperosmotic properties allow it to work as a laxative, drawing water into the colon from surrounding body tissues to allow softening of stool and relieve constipation. This ability to draw in water also allows it to be used in saliva substitutes to relieve dry mouth and during transurethral prostatectomy as a urinary bladder wash. The FDA approved sorbitol in February 1978.

Is oral sorbitol available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for oral sorbitol?

  • Laxative Syrup No
  • IrrigationYes

What are the side effects of oral sorbitol?

Common side effects of sorbitol are:


You are constipated if you don’t have a bowel movement every day.
See Answer

What is the dosage for oral sorbitol?

The initial dose for use as a laxative in adults is 30-150 mL of an oral 70% solution, or 120 mL of a 25% to 30% rectal enema solution. For transurethral surgical procedures, a continuous wash of 3% to 3.3% solution is used.

Which drugs or supplements interact with oral sorbitol?

Combining sorbitol with calcium/sodium polystyrene sulfonate should be avoided due to the significant risk of causing death of gut tissue (intestinal necrosis).

Is oral sorbitol safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies of sorbitol in pregnant women.

Sorbitol should be used cautiously by nursing mothers.

What else should I know about oral sorbitol?

What preparations of oral sorbitol are available?

Irrigation Solution 3%, 3.3%; Oral Solution 70%, Oral Suspension, Oral Syrup, Lozenge

How should I store oral sorbitol?

Sorbitol should be stored at room temperature, 25 C (77 F). Heating above 66 C (150 F) or freezing should be avoided.

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