Compare Miralax vs. Magnesium Citrate

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Miralax
(polyethylene glycol)

Citrate Of Magnesia
(magnesium citrate)

Helps get things moving. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) provides effective relief of constipation without "cramping" your style.Treats constipation. Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) works well if you need to really get things moving, but it's not a good medicine to manage chronic constipation.
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Coupons for Miralax
Best available price for 238 (14 doses of 17g/dose) bottle of powders of miralax
Reviews & ratings
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Filter group. All currently selected
5.45Miralax
Reviews for Miralax
75%
of people (All ages) say Miralax is worth it
54%
say it works well
10%
say it's a big hassle
226 reviews
Have you used Miralax (polyethylene glycol)?
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Have you used Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)?
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Side effects
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate

The Miralax FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Miralax side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Magnesium Citrate side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Magnesium Citrate »
How it works
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) is an osmotic laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass.Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) is an osmotic and stimulant laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. It also causes waves of contractions (peristalsis) in your intestine muscles to push stool through.
Type of medication
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
Over-the-counterPrescription or OTC
Available as
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • Liquid
  • Liquid
Used for
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
Risk factors for serious side effects
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Malignancy
Detailed Miralax (polyethylene glycol) risks & warnings »
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
Detailed Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Food
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
Kidneys and liver
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Magnesium can build up in your blood if you have kidney problems. High magnesium levels can be dangerous and affect your heart, cause weakness and lower your calcium levels. Don't take Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) if you have problems with your kidneys or are taking other magnesium-containing medicines. or supplements..
Pain
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
No pain related info.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Magnesium Citrate if you have kidney disease, are on a limited magnesium or sodium diet, have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
Weight
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • It causes little to no cramping, bloating, gas, or feelings like you "have to go right now" compared to some other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Doesn't cause as much bloating, cramping or feelings like you "have to go right now" as other medicines to treat constipation.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • Miralax is the most recommended laxative by pharmacists and doctors.
  • Most people felt it was worth the hassle.
  • It's gluten and sugar free.
  • It causes little to no cramping, bloating, gas, or feelings like you "have to go right now" compared to some other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Works differently than other over-the-counter laxatives so it's a great alternative if other medicines haven't worked.
  • Really strong laxative that gets things moving fast.
  • Can also be used to prep your bowel before you go for surgery or colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you specific instructions if you use it this way.
Downsides and risks
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • You have to dissolve Miralax in a beverage and drink it versus taking a pill.
  • It's not for children 16 years or younger.
  • Miralax doesn't work overnight. It can take up to 2-4 days to have a bowel movement.
  • It's not recommended that you take it for more than a week, so it you haven't had any success, you'll need to call your doctor for other laxative options.
  • It doesn't work for everyone and some people feel it's a hassle.
  • Some brands are of Magnesium Citrate are tinted red and can change the color of your stool.
  • Can cause dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, and the feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • Magnesium Citrate contains magnesium which prevents certain medicines from working properly. Make sure you take your dose of Magnesium Citrate at least 2 hours before or after other medicines.
  • You can't take it for more than a week or so.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
MiralaxMagnesium Citrate
  • Dissolve Miralax powder in 4 to 8 ounces of water, juice or other drink (cold or hot) once a day.
  • Works in about 1 to 3 days. Don't use for more than 1 week.
  • Miralax is available in four different size dose bottles. It also come in pre-measured single-dose packets to make dosing easier or if you travel.
  • Ask your doctor about giving it to anyone younger than 17 years.
  • Doesn't cause as much bloating, cramping or feelings like you "have to go right now" as other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Ask your doctor before you take Miralax if you have nausea or vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disease, or sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Stop using Miralax and call your doctor if you have pain, cramping, swelling or bulging in your belly, diarrhea, rectal bleeding or find you need to use for more than 1 week.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • Magnesium Citrate starts working in 30 minutes to 6 hours.
  • Works fast, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • The dose is different for adults and children so check the label and ask your doctor about giving to anyone younger than 6 years.
  • It tastes better if you chill the bottle before you take it. Make sure you drink 8 ounces (a full glass) of water or other liquid after each dose.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Magnesium Citrate if you have kidney disease, are on a limited magnesium or sodium diet, have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Stop taking Magnesium Citrate and call your doctor if you have pain, swelling or bulging in your belly, rectal bleeding, or haven't had a bowel movement after taking.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • For short-term use. Don't use it for more than one week.
Learn more
More about MiralaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Miralax (polyethylene glycol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about Magnesium CitrateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it