GLYCEROL

OTHER NAME(S):

1,2,3-propanetriol, Alcool Glycériné, Glicerol, Glucerite, Glycerin, Glycerine, Glycérine, Glycérine Végétale, Glycerol Monostearate, Glycérol, Glycerolum, Glyceryl Alcohol, Monostéarate de Glycérol, Vegetable Glycerin.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Glycerol is a naturally occurring chemical. People use it as a medicine. Some uses and dosage forms have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Glycerol is taken by mouth for weight loss, improving exercise performance, helping the body replace water lost during diarrhea and vomiting, and reducing pressure inside the eye in people with glaucoma. Athletes also use glycerol to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Healthcare providers sometimes give glycerol intravenously (by IV) to reduce pressure inside the brain in various conditions including stroke, meningitis, encephalitis, Reye's syndrome, pseudotumor cerebri, central nervous system (CNS) trauma, and CNS tumors; for reducing brain volume for neurosurgical procedures; and for treating fainting on standing due to poor blood flow to the brain (postural syncope).

Some people apply glycerol to the skin as a moisturizer.

Eye doctors sometimes put a solution that contains glycerol in the eye to reduce fluid in the cornea before an eye exam.

Rectally, glycerol is used as a laxative.

How does it work?

Glycerol attracts water into the gut, softening stools and relieving constipation.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Likely Effective for

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Helping with weight loss, when taken by mouth.

Likely InEffective for

  • Improving exercise performance when taken by mouth.
  • Treating acute stroke when used intravenously.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Helping maintain the body's water levels (hydration) in athletes and people with intestinal problems.
  • Wrinkled skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate glycerol for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Glycerol seems to be safe for most adults. When taken by mouth, glycerol can cause side effects including headaches, dizziness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, thirst, and diarrhea.

Glycerol may not be safe when injected intravenously (by IV). Red blood cells might get seriously damaged.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of glycerol during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for GLYCEROL Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

RECTAL:

  • As an adult laxative for constipation: The common dose of glycerol is a 2-3 grams in suppository form or a 5-15 mL enema. For children younger than six years old, the dose is a 1-1.7 grams as a suppository or a 2-5 mL enema.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Arnall DA, Goforth HW. Failure to reduce body water loss in cold-water immersion by glycerol ingestion. Undersea Hyperb Med 1993;20:309-20. View abstract.
  • Bayer AJ, Pathy MS, Newcombe R. Double-blind randomised trial of intravenous glycerol in acute stroke. Lancet 1987;:405-8. View abstract.
  • Bjorvell H, Hylander B, Rossner S. Effects of glycerol addition to diet in weight-reducing clubs. Int J Obes 1984;8:129-33. View abstract.
  • Covington TR, et al. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 11th ed. Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association, 1996.
  • Dry skin management. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter 2008;24(3):240316.
  • Fawer R, Justafre JC, Berger JP, Schelling JL. Intravenous glycerol in cerebral infarction: a controlled 4-month trial. Stroke 1978;9:484-6. View abstract.
  • Frei A, Cottier C, Wunderlich P, Ludin E. Glycerol and dextran combined in the therapy of acute stroke. A placebo-controlled, double-blind trial with a planned interim analysis. Stroke 1987;18:373-9. View abstract.
  • Friedli W, Imbach P, Ghisleni-Steinegger S, et al. [Treatment with 10% glycerin in acute ischemic cerebral infarct. Doubleblind study]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1979;109:737-42. View abstract.
  • Inder WJ, Swanney MP, Donald RA, et al. The effect of glycerol and desmopressin on exercise performance and hydration in triathletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998;30:1263-9. View abstract.
  • Montner P, Stark DM, Riedesel ML, et al. Pre-exercise glycerol hydration improves cycling endurance time. Int J Sports Med 1996;17:27-33. View abstract.
  • Murray R, Eddy DE, Paul GL, et al. Physiological responses to glycerol ingestion during exercise. J Appl Physiol 1991;71:144-9. View abstract.
  • Robergs RA, Griffin SE. Glycerol. Biochemistry, pharmacokinetics and clinical and practical applications. Sports Med 1998;26:145-67. View abstract.
  • Stanko RT, Reynolds HR, Hoyson R, et al. Pyruvate supplementation of a low-cholesterol, low-fat diet: effects on plasma lipid concentrations and body composition in hyperlipidemic patients. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:423-7. View abstract.
  • Wagner DR. Hyperhydrating with glycerol: implications for athletic performance. J Am Diet Assoc 1999;99:207-12. View abstract.
  • Yu YL, Kumana CR, Lauder IJ, et al. Treatment of acute cerebral hemorrhage with intravenous glycerol. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Stroke 1992;23:967-71. View abstract.
  • Yu YL, Kumana CR, Lauder IJ, et al. Treatment of acute cortical infarct with intravenous glycerol. A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial. Stroke 1993;24:1119-24. View abstract.

More Resources for GLYCEROL

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.