How does Senna work?

Senna contains many chemicals called sennosides. Sennosides irritate the lining of the bowel, which causes a laxative effect.

Are there safety concerns?

Senna is safe for most adults and children over age 2 when used short-term. Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription medicine. Senna can cause some side effects including stomach discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea.

Don't use senna for more than two weeks. Longer use can cause abnormal bowel function and might cause dependence on laxatives. Long-term use can also cause low electrolytes which can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other adverse effects.

Do not take senna if:
  • You are pregnant without advice of a healthcare provider.
  • You have a stomach or bowel disorder.
  • You have hemorrhoids.
  • You have low electrolytes.
  • You are dehydrated.
  • You have diarrhea or loose stools.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.