oral sorbitol

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is sorbitol-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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 sorbitol-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for sorbitol-oral?

  • Laxative Syrup No
  • IrrigationYes

What are the side effects of sorbitol-oral?

Common side effects of sorbitol are:

What is the dosage for sorbitol-oral?

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 sorbitol-oral?

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

Is sorbitol-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or 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 sorbitol-oral?

What preparations of sorbitol-oral are available?

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

How should I keep sorbitol-oral stored?

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


Ora-Sweet SF, PCCA Sweet-SF, PCCA Syrup Vehicle, PCCA-Plus, Numoisyn) is a sweet solution that is hyperosmotic and allows it to relieve constipation. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this product.

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REFERENCE: FDA Sorbitol Prescribing Information