docusate (Correctol, Colace, Dulcolax, Phillips Liquid-Gels, and many 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.

Constipation Myths & Facts

What is docusate-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Docusate is a commonly used non-prescription (OTC or over-the-counter) stool softener used to treat or prevent constipation. Docusate is an anionic surfactant that helps lower the surface tension at the oil-water interface of the stool, and thus allows water and lipids or fats to enter the stool. Consequently, fecal matter is softened which helps natural defecation or bowel movement. Relief of constipation may occur with 1 to 3 days of therapy. Docusate is available in various salt forms including docusate sodium, docusate potassium, and docusate calcium. The salt forms of docusate are considered to be interchangeable. Docusate was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1957.

What brand names are available for docusate-oral?

Aqualax, Colace, Colace Micro-Enema, Conate, Correctol Extra Gentle, Diocto, DocQLace, Docu Soft, Docu, Docuprene, Docusil, DocuSol Kids, DocuSol Mini, DOK, Dulcolax Stool Softener, D.O.S., DC Softgels, Dialose, Enemeez Mini, Genasoft, GoodSense Stool Softener, Fam-Colsof, Healthy Mama Move It Along, Kao-Tin, KS Stool Softener, Laxa Basic, Modane Soft, Phillips Liquid-Gels, Pedia-Lax, Promolaxin, Regulax SS, Silace, Sof-Lax, Stool Softener Laxative DC, Stool Softener, Sulfolax, Surfak, Sur-Q-Lax, Therevac SB, Top Care Stool Softener, Uni-Ease, Vacuant Mini-Enema, Vacuant Plus

Is docusate-oral available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for docusate-oral?


What are the side effects of docusate-oral?

Docusate salts rarely cause side effects since they are not absorbed into the body. Occasional side effects may include

Throat irritation has occurred in some patients after taking liquid formulations of docusate orally.

Excessive use of docusate may cause low electrolyte levels and may also result in dependence. Docusate should not be used in people with

Quick Guide19 Constipation Myths and Facts

19 Constipation Myths and Facts

What is the dosage for docusate-oral?

  • Adult (≥ 12 years): The recommended oral dose is 50 to 500 mg/day in 1 to 4 divided doses. The recommended rectal dose is 50 to100 mg of docusate liquid added to enema fluid.
  • Pediatric: The recommended dose for infants and children <3 years is 10 to 40 mg/day in 1 to 4 divided doses. The recommended dose in children between the ages of 3 to 6 is 20 to 60 mg/day in 1 to 4 divided doses. The recommended dose in children between the ages of 6 to 12 is 40-150 mg/day in 1 to 4 divided doses.

Which drugs or supplements interact with docusate-oral?

: No significant drug to drug interactions have been reported with docusate salts. Administration of docusate with mineral oil is not recommended because docusate may increase the absorption of mineral oil which may lead to serious allergic reactions.

Is docusate-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Docusate is generally considered to be safe during breastfeeding.

What else should I know about docusate-oral?

What preparations of docusate-oral are available?

  • Docusate Calcium: Softgel Capsules: 240 mg
  • Docusate Sodium: 100 mg capsules; 100 mg liquid filled capsules; 50 mg/5 ml oral solution; 50 mg/5 ml oral suspension; 60 mg/15 ml syrup; 100 mg tablets; 100 mg rectal enema suspension; 282 mg rectal enema suspension.

How should I keep docusate-oral stored?

Tablets should be stored at room temperature between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

Quick Guide19 Constipation Myths and Facts

19 Constipation Myths and Facts

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Reviewed on 7/30/2015
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

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