Glycerin (Glycerol)

( Glycerol ) Pronunciation: (GLIH-suh-rin)Class: Hyperosmotic, Osmotic diuretic, Ophthalmic

Trade Names:Colace- Suppositories glycerin

Trade Names:Ophthalgan- Solution (ophthalmic) glycerin

Trade Names:Osmoglyn- Solution 50% (0.6 g glycerin/mL)

Trade Names:Pedia-Lax- Liquid 4 mL/applicator

Trade Names:Sani-Supp- Suppositories glycerin


Reduces IOP by creating osmotic gradient between plasma and ocular fluids (oral form). Promotes bowel evacuation by local irritation and hyperosmotic actions (rectal form). Reduces edema and clears corneal haze by attracting water through semipermeable corneal epithelium (ophthalmic form).



Eliminated by the kidneys.

Indications and Usage


Control of acute attack of glaucoma; reduction of IOP prior to and after ocular surgery.


Short-term treatment of constipation; to evacuate the colon for rectal and bowel examinations.


Clearance of edematous corneas to facilitate ophthalmoscopic and gonioscopic examination in acute glaucoma, bullous keratitis, and Fuchs endothelial dystrophy.

Unlabeled Uses

Reduction of IOP and intracranial pressure via special IV preparations.


Oral form

Anuria, severe dehydration, frank or impending acute pulmonary edema, severe cardiac decompensation.

Rectal forms

Nausea, vomiting, acute surgical abdomen, fecal impaction, intestinal obstruction, undiagnosed abdominal pain.

Dosage and Administration


PO 1 to 2 g/kg 1 to 90 min prior to surgery. PR Insert 1 suppository (3 g) or 5 to 15 mL as rectal enema and retain 15 min. Topical 1 to 2 gtt instilled in eye(s) prior to examination.

Children older than 6 yr of age

PR Same as adults.

Children 2 to 6 yr of age

PR 1 to 1.5 g suppository or 2 to 5 mL as rectal enema.

Children younger than 2 yr of age

Use only on advice of health care provider.

General Advice

  • Administer 50% oral solution with sodium chloride 0.9% flavored with orange, lemon, or lime juice or administer commercially prepared 50% or 75% flavored solution.
  • Administer suppository high in rectum with patient lying on side; encourage patient to retain suppository in rectum for at least 15 min.
  • To administer rectal liquid, have patient lie on left side, insert stem of applicator into rectum with tip pointing toward navel, squeeze unit until nearly all liquid has been dispensed, and remove applicator. Small amount of liquid may remain in unit.
  • Ophthalmic solution may cause burning sensation in eye. Administer local anesthetic before instillation of drug.


Store suppositories in cool location, but do not freeze. Other formulations may be stored at room temperature.

Drug Interactions

None well documented.

Laboratory Test Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions




Headache; confusion; disorientation; weakness; dizziness; fainting.


Rectal form: Perianal irritation; sweating.


Ophthalmic solution: Ocular pain and irritation.


Nausea; vomiting. Rectal form: Excessive bowel activity; abdominal cramps; bloating; flatulence.


Dehydration; hyperosmolar nonketotic coma.



Category C .




Do not administer enemas or suppositories to children younger than 2 yr of age. Safety and efficacy of other forms undetermined.


Use with caution.

Special Risk Patients

Use oral form with caution in patients with hypovolemia, confused mental states, CHF, diabetes mellitus, and severe dehydration.

Patient Information

  • Inform patient of need to maintain supine position after administration of oral form of drug.
  • With rectal form, advise patient about dangers associated with long-term laxative use. Instruct patient in alternative measures to encourage bowel movements (eg, increase fluid intake, increase intake of dietary fiber, increase activity). Instruct patient to avoid laxative use in presence of abdominal pain, vomiting, or nausea.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health.