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Glycerin (Oral route)

What works?

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

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. 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
Into the rectum
Drug classes About this
Diuretic, Osmotic, Protectant, Dental

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

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.

Glycerin laxatives for prevention or treatment of feeding intolerance in very low birth weight infants

Background: Preterm babies are at increased risk of feeding intolerance. Factors that contribute to feeding intolerance are many and include immature motility of the gut and increased viscosity of meconium. Enhancement of passage of the first stool (meconium) might enhance the ability of the preterm infant to tolerate feeds and might help reduce time spent receiving intravenous fluids.

Glycerol Phenylbutyrate (Ravicti) [Internet]

Urea cycle disorders (UCDs) result from genetic mutations that cause defects in any of the five enzymes of the urea cycle in the liver: carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1), ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS), argininosuccinate lyase, and arginase; in the co-factor producer N-acetyl glutamate synthetase; or in the ornithine transporter and citrin. The estimated incidence of UCDs ranges from one in 22,179 births to one in 53,717 births. The most recent estimate of incidence of UCDs for the US is around one in 35,000 births. It is estimated that approximately 11 new cases of UCDs will be diagnosed each year in Canada. The incidence of OTC deficiency (one in 56,500 live births) is higher than other UCDs. Deficiencies in the urea cycle may result in excessive ammonia levels due to impaired metabolism, which can be life-threatening and result in permanent neurological damage if left untreated. Treatment should be initiated as soon as a diagnosis of a UCD is suspected and should proceed simultaneously with the diagnostic evaluation.

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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.

Glycerin laxatives for prevention or treatment of feeding intolerance in very low birth weight infants

Background: Preterm babies are at increased risk of feeding intolerance. Factors that contribute to feeding intolerance are many and include immature motility of the gut and increased viscosity of meconium. Enhancement of passage of the first stool (meconium) might enhance the ability of the preterm infant to tolerate feeds and might help reduce time spent receiving intravenous fluids.

Osmotic therapies added to antibiotics for acute bacterial meningitis

The aim of this Cochrane Review is to collect and analyse trials evaluating osmotic therapies given orally or intravenously to people with acute bacterial meningitis. Cochrane authors collected and analysed all relevant studies to answer this question; they found five relevant studies.

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