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Generic Name: docusate (DOK ue sate)
Brand Names: Colace

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 30, 2018.

What is Colace?

See also: Amitiza

Colace (docusate) is a stool softener. It makes bowel movements softer and easier to pass.

Colace is used to treat or prevent constipation, and to reduce pain or rectal damage caused by hard stools or by straining during bowel movements.

Colace may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not use Colace if you have a blockage in your intestines.

Do not use Colace while you are sick with nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach pain.

You should not take mineral oil while using this medicine.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Colace if you are allergic to docusate, or if you have:

  • nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach pain;

  • a blockage in your intestines; or

  • chronic stomach pain that has not been checked by a doctor.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take Colace:

  • if you are on a low-salt diet; or

  • if you have recently had a sudden change in your bowel habits lasting for longer than 2 weeks.

It is not known whether docusate will harm an unborn baby. Do not use Colace without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether docusate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 6 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I use Colace?

Use Colace 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.

Take this medicine with a full glass of water. Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking this medicine.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open a Colace capsule. Swallow the capsule whole.

After taking Colace you should have a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours.

Do not use Colace for longer than 7 days unless your doctor has told you to. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if you have not had a bowel movement within 1 to 3 days. Overuse of a stool softener can lead to serious medical problems.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Colace dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Constipation:

50 to 300 mg daily divided in 1 to 4 doses each day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Constipation:

Less than 2 years: Check with your doctor.

2 to 12 years: 50 to 150 mg daily divided in 1 to 4 doses each day.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Colace is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting or stomach pain.

What should I avoid while using Colace?

Avoid using laxatives or other stool softeners unless your doctor has told you to.

Colace side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Colace: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • rectal bleeding or irritation;

  • numbness or a rash around your rectum;

  • vomiting, severe diarrhea or stomach cramps; or

  • continued constipation, or no bowel movement.

Common Colace side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Colace?

Other drugs may interact with docusate, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Colace only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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