Psyllium powder should be mixed with a full glass or water to prevent choking; the wafers should be chewed thoroughly, advises WebMD. Psyllium should not be used by individuals with allergies to the ingredients or those with difficulty swallowing, appendicitis, severe constipation, intestinal blockage or undiagnosed rectal bleeding, cautions Drugs.com.
Common side effects of psyllium are abdominal fullness and minor bloating, states Drugs.com. Severe side effects requiring immediate medical attention include allergic reactions, such as hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, or swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue. Chest pain, trouble breathing, vomiting and difficulty swallowing also require immediate attention. Taking additional laxatives or stool softeners with psyllium unless directed by a doctor is not advised, nor is using psyllium if stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or rectal bleeding are present.
Consultation with a doctor is suggested if symptoms do not improve within seven days, symptoms worsen, or a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for two weeks or more is noticed, advises Drugs.com. Safety and effectiveness in children under 12 years of age has not been determined; it is not known if psyllium is found in breast milk. Psyllium may interfere with the absorption of other medications and should be taken at least two hours before or after other medications, according to WebMD.