A fiber laxative produced artificially, but closely resembling psyllium fiber in both appearance and action. Calcium polycarbophil presents significantly less incidence of flatulence
than psyllium (natural
) fiber, because it provides no nutrition for intestinal flora. Water-solubule calcium polycarbophil absorbs liquid and creates a bulky mass in the colon. It is administered in tablet form.
Calcium polycarbophil can be used to regulate bowel function in an otherwise fiber-deprived diet. Because of its water-absorption properties, it can help control certain types of diarrhea AS WELL as treating constipation. It is therefore useful in Irritable Bowel Syndrome therapy, though it is not a cure.
An interesting problem presented by all fiber laxatives is that their intense fiber matrix and water-absorption can make them incompatible with other orally-administered drugs and vitamins, and often those other drugs/vitamins must be taken hours before or after using calcium polycarbophil. This is because the fiber matrix created in the colon can potentially absorb a large portion of the other pill - either the whole pill or the water in which the pill dissolved.