Medications for Constipation
Other names: Difficulty passing stool; Irregularity of bowels
Laxatives are diverse range of medications that help with the movement of feces (poo) through the colon. Over-the-counter options include:
- Fiber Supplements and bulk forming laxatives: These increase the bulk of the stool and help it to retain water, making it softer but more formed. They should be taken with plenty of water. Examples include psyllium (Metamucil), wheat dextrin (Benefiber), polycarbophil (FiberCon), and methylcellulose (Citrucel). They can take two to three days to work.
- Osmotics: These enhance stool movement by drawing water from the rest of the body into the bowel to soften poo and make it easier to pass. Examples include oral magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia), magnesium citrate, lactulose (Generlac), and polyethylene glycol 3350 (Miralax). They can take two to three days to work.
- Stimulants: These stimulate the muscles along the inside of the intestinal tract, helping them to move poo through to your back passage. Examples include bisacodyl (Correctol) and sennosides/senna (Senokot), and they take 6 to 12 hours to work.
- Lubricants: Lubricants, such as mineral oil, coat the stool and the inside of the bowel with moisture which helps keep the stool from drying out, allowing smoother passage along the intestines and colon
- Stool Softeners: Arachis oil (peanut oil), and docusate (Colace) are stool softeners that allow water to get into poo easier to soften it, making it easier to pass.
For chronic constipation or constipation as a result of irritable bowel syndrome, the following prescription medicines may be considered:
In instances where constipation is specifically because of opioid pain relief, prescription medicines like methylnaltrexone (Relistor), naldemedine (Symproic), and naloxegol (Movantik) might be recommended.
Drugs used to treat Constipation
The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.
Frequently asked questions
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Topics under Constipation
Alternative treatments for Constipation
The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Constipation. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Constipation.
Learn more about Constipation
Medicine.com guides (external)
|Rating||For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).|
|Activity||Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.|
|Rx/OTC||Prescription or Over-the-counter.|
|Off-label||This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.|
|EUA||An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.|
|Expanded Access||Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.|
|A||Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).|
|B||Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.|
|C||Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|D||There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.|
|X||Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.|
|N||FDA has not classified the drug.|
|Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule|
|M||The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.|
|U||CSA Schedule is unknown.|
|N||Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.|
|1||Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.|
|2||Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.|
|3||Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.|
|4||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.|
|5||Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.|
|X||Interacts with Alcohol.|
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.