Patient Information

How to use Macrogol Laxatives


This leaflet is about laxatives and how they should be used by children and young people. Laxatives are group of medicines for people suffering from constipation.

The symptoms of constipation are:

  • Large poos that are difficult to flush
  • Hard and/or painful-to-pass poos
  • Small hard (like rabbit droppings) poos and also very runny poos – this happens when the bowel is very compacted so the only thing that can pass through is watery.

Movicol, CosmoCol and Laxido are all macrogol laxatives. Macrogol laxatives work by ‘binding with’ water and delivering it to your large bowel. Therefore, it is essential to mix it with the correct amount of water or it will not work.

Paediatric sachets are for children up to 11 years of age and should be mixed with at least 63mls water PER SACHET.

 Adult sachets are for people from age 12 upwards and should be mixed with at least 125mls water PER SACHET.

Empty the sachet of powder into a cup, glass, or bottle.

Add the right amount of cold water and stir until the powder has dissolved and the water is clear.

The resultant liquid can be mixed with anything your child likes, to encourage them to drink it. For example, this could be squash, juice, hot chocolate, or milk.

DO NOT mix the powder straight into the milk, juice, or flavoured drink – it needs to ‘bind’ with water first.


For formula-fed babies, mix the macrogol with 63mls of previously boiled water per sachet. Prepare the formula according to the manufacturer’s instructions using water which is at least 70°c. (When you heat water in a kettle or pan, it is around 70°c when tiny bubbles start to appear at the bottom but there is no steam visibly rising from the water). Add sufficient formula to macrogol water to flavour it and mix well. DO NOT add macrogol water to the baby’s whole feed in case they don’t finish it.

If your child does not like the taste, try mixing the macrogol earlier and chilling it in the fridge. Laxido will last 6 hours after mixing, and CosmoCol and Movicol will last for 24 hours.

Try a flavoured macrogol, such as Movicol Chocolate or orange, lemon or lime CosmoCol.

Buy a new cup just for macrogols and/or a fun straw to drink it through.

The macrogol water can be added to anything, so try a variety of drinks and foods to work out what suits your child. Some examples are:

  • Add the macrogol water to milk, and pour it on your child’s breakfast cereal (as long as they will drink all the milk)
  • Make macrogol jelly or ice lollies using the macrogol water
  • Mix it with squash, fruit juice (tropical juice is good), milkshakes, smoothies, or hot chocolate
  • Add it into a sauce such as pasta sauce.

All of these should use the same principal of mixing the macrogol with the right amount of water first, and then adding it to a small amount of something the child is likely to eat or drink.

Important note

As the macrogol water is not absorbed by your child, it cannot be included as part of their daily fluid requirement. So, if your child is drinking six cups of fluid a day, but that includes their macrogol, you will need to give them extra drinks to make sure that they are properly hydrated. All children need a minimum of 6 to 8 cups of drink per day to stay healthy. For children with bladder or bowel problems, 8 drinks per day is ideal.

This information is from ERIC, the national charity dedicated to improving children’s bowel and bladder health.


QR code for ERIC


Your local pharmacy can help if you have further questions

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Support services

Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.


Switchboard 020 8546 7711

  • ‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
  • Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Support 020 8546 7711
  • Learning Disability Liaison Team 020 8934 6895
Print - Standard Size Print - Large Size


Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

Request More Information


Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

Tell us how we are doing we'd love to have your opinion