senna (sennosides; Senokot, Senokot EXTRA and others)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

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GENERIC NAME: senna (sennosides)

BRAND NAME: Senokot, Senokot EXTRA and others

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Senna is a natural medicine derived from the senna plant. Senna contains sennosides which acts as a stimulant laxative. It works by irritating and stimulating intestinal cells, producing contractions in intestines, water influx to the intestines and bowel movement.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Sennosides is used for occasional constipation and should not be used for longer than 7 days.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of sennosides are:

PRESCRIPTION: No

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 8.6, 15, 25 mg; Chewable Tablet: 10, 15 mg; Liquid or Syrup: 8.8 mg/5 ml; Concentrated oral drops: 8.8 mg/ml

STORAGE: Store sennosides tablets between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

DOSING:

  • Adults and children 12 years of age and over: The recommended starting dose is to use two 8.6 mg tablets by mouth once a day; maximum daily dose is 100 mg.
  • Children 6 to 12 years of age: The recommended starting dose is to use one 8.6 mg by mouth once a day; maximum daily dose 50 mg a day.
  • Children 2 to 6 years of age: The recommended dose is 4.3 to 17.2 mg per day.
  • Safe and effective use of sennosides is not established in children younger than 2 years of age.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Sennosides should be cautiously in patients taking digoxin (Lanoxin). Sennosides can lower potassium levels, causing digoxin toxicity.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies done on sennosides to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether sennosides enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD

REFERENCES: MedscapeReference. Constipation Medication.

MedlinePlus. Senna.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/12/2015

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