04_100_LaxativeAbuse_ORIGINAL

(New York Times) – The Food and Drug Administration has raised new questions about the safety of an adult laxative routinely given to constipated children, sometimes daily for years.

The agency has asked a team of scientists in Philadelphia to look more closely at the active ingredient in Miralax and similar generic products, called polyethylene glycol 3350, or PEG 3350. While outlining the scope of the research, the agency also disclosed that its scientists had discovered trace amounts of two potential toxins in batches of Miralax tested six years ago.

The news is likely to surprise parents and some doctors.

“Every pediatric GI physician, I would guarantee you, has told a family this is a safe product,” said Dr. Kent C. Williams, a gastroenterologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Now, he worries, “it may not be true.”

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