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Glycerin (Oral route)

Glycerin , when taken by mouth, is used to treat certain conditions in which there is increased eye pressure, such as glaucoma. It may also be used before eye surgery to reduce pressure in the eye.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Glycerin may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription… Read more
Brand names include
Glycerin, Osmoglyn
Other forms
Rectal
Drug classes About this
Diuretic, Osmotic, Protectant, Dental
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

A meta-analysis of the effects of glycerol-induced hyperhydration on fluid retention and endurance performance

The authors determined, through a meta-analytic approach, whether glycerol-induced hyperhydration (GIH) enhances fluid retention and increases endurance performance (EP) significantly more than water-induced hyperhydration (WIH). Collectively, studies administered 23.9 +/- 2.7 mL of fluid/kg body weight (BW) with 1.1 +/- 0.2 g glycerol/kg BW, and hyperhydration was measured 136 +/- 15 min after its onset. Compared with WIH, GIH increased fluid retention by 7.7 +/- 2.8 mL/kg BW (P < 0.01; pooled effect size [PES]: 1.64 +/- 0.80, P < 0.01, N = 14). The use of GIH was associated with an improvement in EP of 2.62% +/- 1.60% (P = 0.047; PES: 0.35 +/- 0.13, P = 0.014, N = 4). Unarguably, GIH significantly enhances fluid retention better than WIH. Because of the dearth of data, the effect of GIH on EP must be further investigated before more definitive conclusions can be drawn as to its ergogenic property.

Does the use of glycerin laxatives decrease feeding intolerance in preterm infants?

Bibliographic details: Shah V, Chirinian N, Lee S, Evidence-based Practice for Improving Quality (EPIQ) Evidence Review Group.  Does the use of glycerin laxatives decrease feeding intolerance in preterm infants? Paediatrics and Child Health 2011; 16(9): e68-e70 Available from: http://www.pulsus.com/journals/abstract.jsp?sCurrPg=abstract&jnlKy=5&atlKy=10308&isuKy=998&isArt=t&fromfold=

Glycerol for acute stroke

There is not enough evidence to show if glycerol can reduce the disabling effects of brain swelling due to acute stroke. Brain swelling (or oedema) is a major cause of early death and long‐term disability after stroke (a sudden catastrophe in the brain either because an artery to the brain blocks, or because an artery in or on the brain ruptures and bleeds). A 10% solution of glycerol might reduce brain swelling and therefore reduce the risk of death and long‐term disability after a stroke. The review found some evidence that glycerol improves the short term survival after stroke, but there was not enough evidence to decide whether glycerol helps avoid disability after stroke. Adverse effects of glycerol treatment did not happen often, but a small number of treated patients were found to have blood in their urine (this disappeared after the glycerol treatment was stopped). More research is needed.

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Summaries for consumers

Glycerol for acute stroke

There is not enough evidence to show if glycerol can reduce the disabling effects of brain swelling due to acute stroke. Brain swelling (or oedema) is a major cause of early death and long‐term disability after stroke (a sudden catastrophe in the brain either because an artery to the brain blocks, or because an artery in or on the brain ruptures and bleeds). A 10% solution of glycerol might reduce brain swelling and therefore reduce the risk of death and long‐term disability after a stroke. The review found some evidence that glycerol improves the short term survival after stroke, but there was not enough evidence to decide whether glycerol helps avoid disability after stroke. Adverse effects of glycerol treatment did not happen often, but a small number of treated patients were found to have blood in their urine (this disappeared after the glycerol treatment was stopped). More research is needed.

Osmotic therapies added to antibiotics for acute bacterial meningitis

Meningitis is a condition where bacteria, fungi or viruses spread from the blood and infect the membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spinal cord. All types of meningitis are very serious but acute bacterial meningitis has a rapid onset and is usually fatal within hours to days without treatment. Signs and symptoms usually include high fever, severe headache, convulsions, coma and mental confusion. Even with antibiotics the mortality rate is 10% to 15% in children with bacterial meningitis and 20% to 30% in adults in high‐income countries, rising to 50% in adults in low‐income countries. Increased swelling of the brain caused by the infection is thought to contribute to death and may lead to complications in survivors such as long‐term brain damage, deafness, epilepsy and learning difficulties in children. Bacterial meningitis is relatively rare in well‐resourced settings but is more common in low‐income countries, particularly where the prevalence of HIV is high.

Absorbable stitches for repair of episiotomy and tears at childbirth

Approximately 70% of women who have a vaginal birth will experience some degree of damage to the perineum, due to a tear or cut (episiotomy), and will need stitches. This damage may result in perineal pain during the two weeks after the birth, and some women experience long‐term pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. The impact of perineal trauma can be distressing for the new mother when she is trying to cope with hormonal changes and the demands of her baby, and it can have a long‐term effect on her sexual relationship. Most modern materials that are used to stitch the perineum are gradually absorbed and do not need to be taken out. Sometimes, however, stitches have to be removed by the doctor or midwife. A small number of perineal wounds come open (break down) or have delayed healing, and some of these may need to be re‐stitched.

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