How to take dulcolax?

Dulcolax Laxative

Use 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. Overuse of laxatives can cause your bowels to function improperly, or can make you dependent on laxative use.

In some cases, bisacodyl is taken by mouth. The enema and suppository forms of this medicine are for use in the rectum.

Do not crush, chew, or break a bisacodyl tablet. Swallow it whole with a full glass of water.

Bisacodyl taken by mouth should produce a bowel movement within 6 to 12 hours.

Bisacodyl used in the rectum can produce much faster results. You should have a bowel movement within 15 to 60 minutes after using a rectal suppository, or within 5 to 20 minutes after using the rectal enema.

Do not take a rectal suppository or enema by mouth. It is for use only in your rectum.

Try to empty your bladder just before using bisacodyl in the rectum.

Wash your hands before and after using rectal bisacodyl.

To use the rectal suppository:

  • Remove the wrapper from the suppository. Avoid handling the suppository too long or it will melt in your hands. If the suppository is soft, you may hold it under cool running water or refrigerate it for a few minutes.
  • Lie on your left side with your right knee up toward your chest. Gently insert the suppository into your rectum about 1 inch, pointed tip first.
  • Stay lying down for a few minutes. The suppository will melt quickly and you should feel little or no discomfort while holding it in.
  • Do not use more than one rectal suppository per day.

To use the rectal enema:

  • Shake the rectal enema before using it. Remove the cap from the enema tip.
  • Lie on your left side with your right knee up toward your chest, leaning forward slightly. Gently insert the tip of the enema bottle into your rectum, aiming toward your navel.
  • Gently squeeze the bottle until it is empty, and then remove it from your rectum.
  • For best results, hold the enema liquid in your rectum for up to 10 minutes. Then empty your rectum while seated on a toilet.

Call your doctor if you do not have a bowel movement after using this medicine, or if you have constipation for longer than 7 days.

If you are using bisacodyl to prepare for a medical test, follow your doctor’s instructions about when to use the medicine.

Store bisacodyl oral or rectal medicine at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222, especially if anyone has accidentally swallowed a rectal suppository.

Since bisacodyl is used when needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule.

If you are preparing for a medical test and you miss your dose, call your doctor for instructions.

Copyright 1996-2020 Cerner Multum, Inc.

Latest Update: 11/9/2018, Version: 2.01

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About bisacodyl

Type of medicine Stimulant laxative
Used for Constipation
Before some surgery and medical examinations
Also known as Dulcolax®
Available as Tablets and suppositories

Constipation can be caused by a poor diet, not drinking enough water and not going to the toilet as soon as you feel you need to. Pregnancy, a lack of exercise or movement (such as being ill in bed) and some medicines, including some painkillers, can also cause constipation.

However, many people take laxatives when they do not need to because they believe that they are constipated unless they go to the toilet every day. This is not the case. A useful definition of constipation is going to the toilet less frequently than is normal for you, and passing hard stools (faeces) when you do go.

Bisacodyl works by encouraging the muscles in your bowel to move stools through your body. This helps you to go to the toilet. Tablets usually have an effect within 10-12 hours. Suppositories will take between 10-60 minutes to work, but usually have their effect within 30 minutes. Bisacodyl preparations are available to buy without a prescription at pharmacies and other retail outlets.

Bisacodyl is sometimes used to clear the bowel before a medical examination which requires the bowel to be empty. When it is used like this, you will be provided with a small supply of bisacodyl by your hospital or clinic.

Before using bisacodyl

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, ask for advice from a doctor or pharmacist before you start using bisacodyl if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • If it is for a child under 10 years of age. This is because bisacodyl should only be given to children on the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional.
  • If you have severe pain in your tummy (abdomen) and feel sick (nausea).
  • If you have recently had any bowel or abdominal surgery.
  • If you are lacking in fluid in the body (dehydrated) or take ‘water tablets’ (diuretics).
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to use bisacodyl

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about bisacodyl and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take one or two 5 mg tablets with a drink of water (do not take with milk). Bisacodyl tablets take about 10-12 hours to work; therefore, they are best taken at bedtime. Do not chew or break the tablets.
  • A suppository can be used instead of taking tablets. Use one suppository daily. It will take between 10-60 minutes to work and therefore should preferably be used in the morning. It will usually have its effect within 30 minutes. There are two strengths of suppository: 10 mg which is suitable for adults, and 5 mg which is suitable for older children (and younger children when prescribed by a doctor).
  • Bisacodyl should only be used for a short time. This is because your bowel can start to rely on this type of laxative to make it work rather than working on its own. If you are still constipated after taking bisacodyl for five days, you should speak with your doctor.

How to use a suppository

  1. Remove the suppository from the wrapping.
  2. Moisten the suppository with a little tap water.
  3. Using your finger, gently push the suppository into the back passage (rectum) as far as is comfortable.
  4. Remain still for a little while to help hold the suppository in place. It will start to work in about 20 minutes or so.
  5. Wash your hands after use.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time as bisacodyl tablets. This is because bisacodyl tablets have a special coating on them which is affected by antacid preparations. If you need to take something for indigestion, make sure you take it more than two hours before you take bisacodyl, or alternatively wait for two hours after you have taken bisacodyl.
  • A healthy diet containing fibre (whole grain breads and cereals, bran, fruit and green leafy vegetables) with six to eight full glasses of water each day and daily exercise are important in maintaining healthy bowel function. For people who have problems with constipation, food such as pastries, puddings, sugar, sweets, cheese and cake can make matters worse.
  • You can read more about how to prevent or treat constipation in the separate leaflets called Constipation (for adults) and Constipation in Children.

Can bisacodyl cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common bisacodyl side-effects – these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick (nausea) Stick to simple foods
Loose or watery stools (diarrhoea) Stop using bisacodyl. This can be a result of taking bisacodyl unnecessarily or for too long
Tummy cramps or discomfort This should soon pass
Suppositories may cause irritation to the bottom Try applying a gentle moisturiser to that area

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store bisacodyl

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the recommended dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable for you to take with your other medicines.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Bisacodyl belongs to the class of medications called stimulant laxatives. It is used for the relief of occasional constipation. It can also be used for the preparation of certain medical tests (e.g., colonoscopy), before and after surgery, and in other situations where a bowel movement to required.

It works by stimulating the bowel muscles and also accumulates water in the intestines. This helps to soften the stool and produce a bowel movement more quickly. The tablets should be taken at bedtime to produce a bowel movement the next morning. The suppositories usually take about 15 minutes to 1 hour to work.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor or pharmacist has not recommended it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each rectal suppository contains bisacodyl 10 mg (adult formula). Nonmedicinal ingredient: hard fat.

Each yellow, enteric-coated tablet contains bisacodyl 5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: acacia, beeswax, carnauba wax, corn starch, dibutyl phthalate, eudragit, glycerine, lactose, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol, sucrose, talc, tartrazine (yellow), and titanium dioxide.

How should I use this medication?

For constipation, the usual dose for adults and children over 12 years of age is 1 to 2 tablets (5 mg to 10 mg) taken by mouth, or 1 adult suppository (10 mg) inserted rectally. For children 6 to 12 years of age, the usual dose is 1 tablet (5 mg) taken by mouth or 1 pediatric suppository (5 mg) inserted rectally.

Before a medical test or surgery, the usual dose for adults is 2 to 4 tablets (10 mg to 20 mg) by mouth the night before the procedure, followed by 1 suppository inserted rectally the morning of the procedure. For children 6 years of age and older, the usual dose is 1 tablet (5 mg) taken by mouth at bedtime and 1 pediatric suppository (5 mg) inserted rectally the following morning.

Take the tablets at night to produce a bowel movement the following morning. Do not take the tablets with milk or antacids as this may dissolve the coating on the tablet. Swallow the tablets whole with liquids. Do not crush or chew the tablets.

To use the suppositories, unwrap and insert high into the rectum with the pointed end first. Then, push the flat end of the suppository sideways so that part of it touches the wall of the rectum. Keep the suppository in the rectum for as long as possible. If inserting the suppository is difficult because you have had anal fissures or hemorrhoids, coat the end of the suppository with a lubricant such as petroleum jelly before inserting. The suppositories will start to work within 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not take this medication for longer than one week, unless directed by a health care professional. If you use this medication for one week and you do not produce a bowel movement, contact your doctor immediately.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor or recommended by your pharmacist. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to bisacodyl or any ingredients of the medication
  • are severely dehydrated
  • have a rare inherited condition where you cannot take lactose or sucrose (e.g., galactosemia, fructose intolerance)
  • have intestinal blockage, appendicitis, acute inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitits), or severe abdominal pain with nausea and vomiting

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • abdominal cramps, pain, or discomfort
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • blood in the stool
  • rectal discomfort or pain
  • symptoms of an allergic reaction (e.g., rash, itching)
  • symptoms of irritation of the intestines (e.g., severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., hives, swelling of the face or throat)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.

Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever: If you have abdominal pain, nausea, fever, or vomiting, do not take this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Dizziness and fainting: People taking this medication have reported experiencing dizziness and fainting. This may be from straining to produce a bowel movement or from the pain that can be associated with constipation. If you feel dizzy or faint while taking this medication, contact your doctor.

Long-term use: This medication should not be taken daily or for long periods of time as this may lead to dehydration and low potassium levels. Long-term use can make your bowels dependent on this medication to function.

Rectal conditions: If you have rectal fissures or ulcerative proctitis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. People with these conditions may experience pain and irritation when using the suppository form of this medication. If you experience rectal bleeding after using the suppositories, contact your doctor.

Tartrazine: This medication contains tartrazine (a colouring agent) and should not be taken by people who are allergic to tartrazine.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: This medication does not pass into breast milk. It is therefore considered safe to use while breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children less than 6 years old. Do not give this medication to children unless recommended by your doctor.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Do not take other medications 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking bisacodyl tablets. Bisacodyl tablets may reduce the effectiveness of other medications.

There may be an interaction between bisacodyl and any of the following:

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

Have you ever purchased Dulcolax suppository, rectal?

This product is for rectal use only. Read and follow all directions on the product package or use as directed by your doctor. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. If the suppository is too soft to insert, chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or run cold water over it before removing the foil wrapper.

Wash your hands before and after using this product. Remove the foil wrapper. If desired, the suppository may be moistened with lukewarm water. Do not use petroleum jelly or mineral oil. Doing so may cause the product to be less effective. Lie on your left side with the right knee slightly bent. Gently insert the suppository, pointed end first, toward the navel and well up into the rectum. After insertion, stay in position for 15 to 20 minutes if possible until you feel a strong urge to have a bowel movement.

If this product is used too frequently, it may cause loss of normal bowel function and an inability to have a bowel movement without using the product (laxative dependence). If you notice symptoms of overuse such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased weight, or weakness, contact your doctor promptly.

Consult your doctor promptly if you do not have a bowel movement after using this product or if you think you may have a serious medical problem.

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