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Sorbitol is used to treat occasional constipation.

How it works

Sorbitol solution is a hyperosmotic laxative. It works by retaining fluid in the colon, which helps to increase muscle movement in the intestines.

Common side effects

Osmotic diarrhea, Abdominal cramp, Increased glucose level in blood, Allergic reaction, Increased sodium level in blood, Vomiting


Expert advice

  • Do not use sorbitol, if you are allergic to sorbitol or any other ingredient.
  • Do not use sorbitol, if you have anuria (no passage of urine); fructose intolerance; acid-base imbalance or diabetes; severe heart or kidney problems.
  • Avoid using sorbitol, if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Take precaution before using sorbitol if you have abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding.
  • Do not take additional laxatives or stool softeners while taking sorbitol solution unless directed by your doctor.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is sorbitol safe/ safe for diabetics/bad/ affect or raise blood sugar?
Sorbitol is safe in most patients if taken at recommended dosage and duration. However, higher dosages may cause stomach cramps and diarrhea in some patients. It is generally safe to be used in diabetes but hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar) from metabolism of absorbed sorbitol may occur in some diabetic patients.
Q. Does sorbitol/weight gain/headaches/bloating?
Sorbitol may cause bloating, it can cause severe side effects such as sudden weight gain in some patients.
Q. Does sorbitol reduce dental caries/ cause tooth decay?
Consuming sorbitol-sweetened (sugar-free) products instead of regular ones can play an important role in reducing a person's tooth decay rate and will prevent dental carries.

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