Metamucil is a brand name for a fiber supplement containing psyllium. Produced by Procter & Gamble, Metamucil is available in powder form, single-serve powder packs and wafers, all in various flavors, as well as in capsules. Taking too much Metamucil can cause negative effects, and taking it for too long can do so also.
Psyllium is a water-soluble fiber mainly used as a bulk laxative to relieve occasional constipation or irregularity, according to Drugs.com. It works by absorbing liquid in the intestines, which softens and adds bulk to stools. Psyllium also is effective at relieving mild-to-moderate diarrhea. In addition, it may help reduce cholesterol when combined with a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Some people experience gas, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation when taking psyllium, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus website. The supplement also may cause headaches, coughing, runny nose and sinus problems. To prevent side effects, start with a low dose and gradually increase it if necessary.
Recommended dosages for the various Metamucil products are listed on the product label and should not be exceeded, as noted by the Metamucil website. Metamucil overdose symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. In addition, some Metamucil products contain potassium, which should not be taken in high doses. Keep the product out of the reach of children. An overdose of Metamucil calls for immediate medical attention.
Metamucil is intended for short-term use only. Laxatives may be habit-forming if they are used too often or for too long, as noted by Drugs.com. This can lead to laxative dependency, in which bowel movements do not occur without taking a laxative. In addition, long-term use can cause damage to the intestinal muscle tissue or nerves.
Take Metamucil with at least 8 ounces of water or another liquid, advises Drugs.com. Taking it without enough liquid can cause the supplement to become stuck in the throat and lead to choking. Add extra liquid to a powder and liquid mixture if the blend is too thick. Do not take more than recommended on the label or prescribed by your doctor. Psyllium can inhibit the absorption of medications, so take medication at least two hours before or after taking Metamucil.