Potential for Additional Future Research on the Affects of PEG3350
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
For the past few years, we have reported on the popular over-the-counter constipation drug MiraLAX, and its adverse side effects in children. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of neuropsychiatric symptoms in children, it has yet to be determined whether these adverse side effects are due to Polythylene glycol 3350 (PEG3350) the active ingredient in MiraLAX, or if there is another underlying cause. As mentioned in our July 2021 article, "MiraLAX PEG3350 Research Sees Minimal Progress", few advancements have been made in PEG3350 research.
Recent PEG3350 Study and Its Findings
According to a December 2021 Pediatrics Nationwide article, "Polyethylene Glycol 3350 Does Not Lead to Behavior Changes in Animal Model", covering a study conducted by Dr. Ross Maltz, pediatric gastroenterologist at Nationwide Children's:
In the first experiment, mice were administered either a high or a low dose of PEG3350 daily for two weeks. Additional mice were given a high or low dose of an alternative laxative (magnesium citrate) or water. The researchers assessed anxiety-like behaviors using several standardized tests before treatment, after two weeks of treatment, and after a two-week washout period.
“We compared the groups and didn’t see any differences in anxiety-like behavior in any of the mice,” says Dr. Maltz, who is also an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “But with repeated exposure to the behavioral tests, mice can get habituated and respond less over time. So we did another experiment.”
In the second experiment, similar results surrounding the connection between PEG3350 and anxiety-like behaviors were found:
The team’s second experiment used the same design but the mice only underwent behavioral testing once, at the end of the two-week treatment period. Again, they found that administration of PEG3350 did not alter anxiety-like behaviors.
Furthermore, the team investigated the affect of PEG3350 on the gut microbiome of the mice:
Dr. Maltz and his colleagues also investigated the composition of the gut microbiome in the mice, as a possible mechanistic explanation should behavioral effects have been found. The researchers found that the relative abundances of a number of bacterial taxa were significantly altered in mice treated with PEG3350, especially the high dose.
For a deeper understanding of how PEG3350 affects the gut microbiome and why this is important, refer to our November 2019 article, "How Drugs Like MiraLAX Can Affect The Microbiome."
PEG3350 Research Moving Forward
However, while the findings of these particular studies did not find a link between PEG3350 and anxiety-like behaviors, the interest in researching this potential link between PEG 3350 and anxiety-like behaviors is still strong:
Although this study found no evidence that PEG3350 (or magnesium citrate) alters anxiety-like behavior in mice, Dr. Maltz says there are still questions for further studies. For instance, this study could be replicated with different behavioral tests to probe potential changes in aggression or obsessive-compulsive behaviors, or even different aspects of anxiety-like behavior. In addition, Dr. Maltz cautions that this was done in an animal model, and further evaluations in pediatric patients could be conducted.
Parents and other family members may find comfort in joining the Facebook group "Parents Against MiraLAX". Additionally, you may want to consider referring to our February 2020 article, "MiraLAX: The Quest to Get Answers from the FDA" for more information of past PEG3350 studies.
As always, we will continue to monitor the issues surrounding MiraLAX and will provide you with any new or relevant information. Please feel free to share any relevant information with us, as well.
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