senna (sennosides; Senokot, Senokot EXTRA and others)

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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.



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).

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


  • 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.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of sennosides are abdominal pain, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, nausea, urine discoloration, and finger clubbing from long-term use.

REFERENCES: MedscapeReference. Constipation Medication.

MedlinePlus. Senna.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2014

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