How long does it take colace to work?

Colace

Generic Name: docusate (DOK ue sate)
Brand Names: Colace

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm Last updated on Aug 2, 2019.

  • Overview
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What is Colace?

Colace (docusate) is a stool softener. It makes bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Colace is used to treat or prevent occasional constipation, and to reduce pain or rectal damage caused by hard stools or by straining during bowel movements.

Colace may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Colace if you have a blockage in your intestines.

Do not use Colace while you are sick with nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach pain.

You should not use docusate if you also use mineral oil, unless your doctor tells you to.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Colace if you are allergic to docusate.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if this medicine is safe to use if you have:

  • stomach pain;

  • nausea;

  • vomiting; or

  • a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts over 2 weeks.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not give this medicine to a child without medical advice.

How should I use Colace?

Use Colace exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water. Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking this medicine.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

Colace generally produces bowel movement in 12 to 72 hours. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 72 hours.

You should not use this medicine for longer than 1 week, unless your doctor tells you to. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if you have not had a bowel movement within 1 to 3 days. Overuse of a stool softener can lead to serious medical problems.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze liquid medicine.

Colace dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Constipation:

50 to 300 mg daily divided in 1 to 4 doses each day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Constipation:

Less than 2 years: Check with your doctor.
2 to 12 years: 50 to 150 mg daily divided in 1 to 4 doses each day.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Colace is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. Skip any missed dose if it’s almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Colace?

Avoid using mineral oil, unless told to do so by a doctor.

Colace side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Colace : hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • rectal bleeding or irritation; or

  • no bowel movement after 72 hours.

Less serious Colace side effects may be more likely, and you may have none at all.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Colace?

Other drugs may interact with docusate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Colace only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01.

Related questions

  • What is the maximum dosage for Colace stool softener at one time?

Medical Disclaimer

More about Colace (docusate)

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Consumer resources

  • Colace (Docusate Capsules and Tablets)
  • Colace (Docusate Liquid and Syrup)

Other brands: DOK, Surfak, Dulcolax Stool Softener, Doc-Q-Lace, … +2 more

Professional resources

  • Docusate Sodium (FDA)

Other Formulations

  • Peri-Colace
  • Colace Microenema

Related treatment guides

  • Constipation

Differences between stool softeners and other laxatives

In most cases, a doctor will know which type of laxative they should prescribe based on the person’s symptoms and what is causing them.

The following list will describe the uses, benefits, and risks of different forms of laxatives:

Stool softeners

Share on PinterestA doctor will prescribe a laxative based on the person’s symptoms.

Stool softeners are gentle medications with a relatively mild effect. They soften the stool, making it easier to pass.

Over-the-counter stool softeners are useful when a person experiences mild occasional or chronic constipation.

Doctors may prescribe stool softeners after major surgeries, such as heart surgery or hernia repair. If straining to have a bowel movement might be harmful during recovery, people can take stool softeners to avoid complications.

Osmotic laxatives

Osmotic laxatives work by drawing water into the intestines. They may not be the best option for people experiencing constipation from dehydration.

Anyone using osmotic laxatives should also drink more water throughout the day. When used correctly, doctors may recommend osmotic laxatives for long-term use.

Fiber-based laxatives

Doctors may recommend a bulk-forming laxative containing soluble fiber if a person does not get a lot of fiber in their regular diet. Doctors may also recommend fiber-based laxatives for people who have chronic, long-lasting constipation.

Bulk-forming laxatives may be safer for long-term use than other options, as they have little risk of long-term side effects when taken correctly.

Saline laxatives

Like osmotic laxatives, saline laxatives pull water into the stool. Saline laxatives do this using mineral salts, such as magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide.

Saline laxatives are not right for everyone. For instance, people who are on medication to lower their sodium levels or are taking other mineral-based medications, such as medicines to reduce calcium in the kidneys, should avoid saline laxatives.

Saline laxatives are useful for short-term constipation. Using them for extended periods may lead to dehydration or cause an imbalance in other minerals.

Lubricant laxatives

Doctors may recommend laxatives containing oils, such as mineral oil for difficult short-term constipation, but they are not suitable for regular use. The oils in these laxatives may stick to fat-soluble vitamins and make them impossible to digest.

Stimulant laxatives

Stimulant laxatives are a good option for fast relief from painful constipation.

The stimulating effect in these laxatives makes the stool move faster through the colon while increasing the liquid in the stool. Many popular over-the-counter brand names contain stimulant laxatives.

Stimulant laxatives are not safe for regular use. Using them regularly may cause the body to become dependent on the laxative to have a bowel movement.

Guanylate cyclase-C agonist laxatives

Doctors may prescribe guanylate cyclase-C agonist laxatives in cases of chronic constipation that has no known cause. These laxatives, along with lifestyle changes, may offer a solution for people who suffer from chronic constipation. Young children should not use them.

Docusate and senna

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Dec 5, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

  • Overview
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  • Pregnancy
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What is docusate and senna?

Docusate is a stool softener. It makes bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Senna is a laxative. It stimulates muscle movement in the intestines.

The combination of docusate and senna is used to treat occasional constipation.

Docusate and senna may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Use this medication as directed on the label, or as your doctor has prescribed. Do not use the medication in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to docusate and senna, or if you are also taking mineral oil.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using docusate and senna if you have nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, a sudden change in bowel habits, or an intestinal disorder (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).

Do not use this medication without your doctor’s advice if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Do not take this medication for longer than 7 days in a row. Call your doctor if your constipation does not improve or if it gets worse.

Stop taking this docusate and senna and call your doctor at once if you have rectal bleeding, severe stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, or if you do not have a bowel movement.

Do not use any other over-the-counter laxatives or other stool softener without first asking your doctor or pharmacist.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to docusate and senna, or if you are also taking mineral oil.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist about using docusate and senna if you have:

  • nausea or vomiting;

  • stomach pain;

  • a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for 2 weeks or longer; or

  • if you have an intestinal disorder such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Do not use this medication without your doctor’s advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether docusate and senna passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Ask a doctor before giving this medication to a child younger than 2 years old.

How should I use docusate and senna?

Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

It may be best to take this medication at night or at bedtime. Docusate and senna should cause you to have a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours.

Do not take this medication for longer than 7 days in a row, unless your doctor tells you to.

Call your doctor if your constipation does not improve or if it gets worse after taking docusate and senna.

Store docusate and senna at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Since docusate and senna is taken as needed, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule. If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to take the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of docusate and senna.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea.

What should I avoid while using docusate and senna?

Do not use any other over-the-counter laxatives or other stool softener without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Docusate or senna may be contained in other medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much of a certain medicine. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains docusate or senna.

Docusate and senna side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using docusate and senna and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • rectal bleeding;

  • severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; or

  • no bowel movement.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • gas, bloating;

  • diarrhea; or

  • mild nausea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Docusate and senna dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Constipation — Acute:

2 to 4 tablets orally daily in divided doses or as a single daily dose preferably in the evening

Usual Pediatric Dose for Constipation — Acute:

2 to 6 years: up to 1 tablet daily
6 to 12 years: 1 to 2 tablets daily

What other drugs will affect docusate and senna?

There may be other drugs that can interact with docusate and senna. Tell your doctor about all your prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02.

Medical Disclaimer

More about docusate / senna

  • Side Effects
  • During Pregnancy
  • Dosage Information
  • Drug Images
  • Drug Interactions
  • Compare Alternatives
  • Pricing & Coupons
  • En Español
  • 16 Reviews
  • Drug class: laxatives
  • Docusate and Senna

Other brands: Senna Plus, Peri-Colace, Senna S, Senokot S, … +11 more

  • Constipation, Acute

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