Docusate Sodium - Use | Side Effects
This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.
Docusate sodium is a drug from the group of laxatives. It is used in the treatment of constipation. It works by softening your stool making bowel movements easier. Docusate sodium is used in situations when you need to clean out your bowels in order to perform some diagnostic procedures (e.g. radiology).
When to take precautions?
Contraindications to the use of this medicine include:
- Intestinal obstruction
- Hypersensitivity to Docusate
- Nausea or vomiting in the previous 48 hours
- Stomach pain
In the treatment of constipation, sometimes is not enough just to take the medicine, but it is also necessary to change lifestyle and nutrition. First of all you need to base your diet on an increased intake of dietary fiber and to increase fluid intake. Physical activity can also help you in the treatment of constipation.
This medicine is not intended for long-term use. If there is no improvement after 24 hours of the application of this medicine, consult your doctor.
If after using this drug you start experiencing changes in the bowel movements that lasts longer than 10 days, you need to call your doctor. This may be a sign that loss of bowel motility has occurred.
Docusate sodium, pregnancy and breastfeeding
Studies indicate that Docusate sodium is not associated with adverse effects on the fetus and its application during pregnancy is considered safe.1 However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before you start taking this drug during pregnancy.
Studies have shown that about 3% of infants whose mothers took this drug while breastfeeding experience diarrhea. Avoid breastfeeding while taking this medication.
The usual dose in the treatment of constipation in patients above the age of 12 is 300 mg daily, divided into two or three doses.
The usual dose for diagnostic procedures is 400 mg per day.
Swallow the capsules whole with a little liquid.
The capsules are not suitable for the application in children under the age of 12.
Docusate does not enter into the major interactions with other drugs. So far, only nine moderate and one minor interactions were recorded. Docusate sodium should not be used together with the following substances:
- Droperidol (an antipsychotic). Using these two drugs concurrently increases the risk of an increased loss of potassium and magnesium from the body.
- Licorice supplements. Using Docusate and licorice together increases the risk of an increased loss of potassium and magnesium from the body.
- Mineral oil. Using mineral oil concurrently with Docusate, increases the risk of inflammation of bowels, liver and spleen.
- Other laxatives (e.g. phenolphthalein and lactulose)
Adverse effects of Docusate include:
- Stomach cramps
- Impaired sense of taste
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If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.