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Methylcellulose is used to treat constipation or diarrhea and restoring regularity in passing stools. It is also used to control consistency of stool in patients with colostomy (a certain type of surgical procedure of large intestine or colon) or ileostomy (an opening in the belly that's made during surgery), control bowel movement disturbances caused by small sacs or pouches in the wall of the gut (diverticular disease), manage the symptoms of ulcerative colitis (symptoms include diarrhea with mucus and pus and severe abdominal pain) and reduce appetite in the treatment of obesity.

How it works

Methylcellulose belongs to a class of drugs named bulk-forming laxatives. It works by absorbing water and swelling in the intestines. This helps the stool to form the bulk necessary to be easily passed. It also gives a feeling of fullness which can help to reduce the appetite for food.

Common side effects

Nausea, Abdominal bloating, Abdominal distension, Diarrhoea, Fluid retention


No medicine available

Expert advice

  • Taking methylcellulose without enough fluid may cause it to swell and block throat or esophagus and may cause choking.
  • Do not take methylcellulose if you have difficulty swallowing.
  • When used as an aid to appetite control and the treatment of obesity, take methylcellulose half an hour before each meal and between meals when hunger pangs are severe.
  • Take precautions if you are an elderly patient or if you have narrowed intestine and decreased mobility.
  • You should not take medicine if you are galactose intolerant, have the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose or use methylcellulose for longer than 1 week unless directed by doctor.
  • Stop use and contact doctor if you have rectal bleeding or no bowel movement after use. These could be signs of a serious condition
  • Consult your doctor before taking the medication if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or history of intestinal blockage.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if allergic to methylcellulose or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if suffering with appendicitis (inflammation of appendix), difficulty swallowing, intestinal blockage, severe constipation, or rectal bleeding of unknown cause.
  • Do not take if suffering with diarrhea with high fever and / or blood in stools.
  • Do not adviced fr people who are severely dehydrated.
  • Do not take if below 6 years.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Does hydroxypropyl methylcellulose contain soy?
No, it doesn’t contain soy.

Q. Is methylcellulose natural and gluten free?
Yes, it is natural and gluten free.

Q. Is methylcellulose soluble or insoluble?
Methylcellulose is insoluble.

Q. Does methylcellulose reduce cholesterol?
No, it doesn’t reduce cholesterol.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)