Generic Name: docusate (oral/rectal) (DOK ue sate)
Brand Name: Colace, Diocto, Dioeze, Doc-Q-Lace, Docu, Docu Soft, Doculase, Docuprene, Docusil, Docusoft S, DocuSol, DOK, DSS, Dulcolax Stool Softener, Enemeez Mini, Kao-Tin, Octycine-250, Pedia-Lax Stool Softener, Phillips Stool Softener, Promolaxin, Silace, Surfak Stool Softener, Sur-Q-Lax, Vacuant, ...show all 52 brand namesDialose, DC-240, Kasof, Sulfalax Calcium, DOS, Modane Soft, Regulax SS, Aqualax, Dioctocal, Dioctosoftez, Dioctyn, Dionex, Docucal, Calcium Stool Softener, Calube, D-S Caps, Ex-Lax Stool Softener, Genasoft, Doss-Relief, Fleet Sof-Lax, Colace Micro-Enema, Correctol Softgel Extra Gentle, Therevac-SB, Octycine-100, Sulfolax, Kaopectate Stool Softener, DocuSol Kids, Colace Clear
Medically reviewed on February 12, 2018
What is docusate?
Docusate is a stool softener. It makes bowel movements softer and easier to pass.
Docusate is used to treat or prevent constipation, and to reduce pain or rectal damage caused by hard stools or by straining during bowel movements.
Docusate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use docusate if you have a blockage in your intestines. Do not use docusate while you are sick with nausea, vomiting, or severe stomach pain. You should not take mineral oil while using docusate.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use docusate if you are allergic to it, 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.
You should not take mineral oil while using docusate.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take docusate:
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.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether docusate will harm an unborn baby. Do not use docusate 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 docusate?
Use 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 docusate.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open a docusate capsule or tablet. Swallow it whole.
Measure liquid medicine with the dosing syringe provided, or with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. Mix the liquid with 6 to 8 ounces of milk, fruit juice, or infant formula and drink the mixture right away.
After taking docusate by mouth (tablets, capsules, liquid), you should have a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours.
Do not take docusate rectal enema by mouth. It is for use only in your rectum.
Wash your hands before and after using docusate enema.
Try to empty your bowel and bladder just before using the enema. Remove the cap from the enema applicator tip. Lie down on your left side with your knees bent, and gently insert the tip of the enema applicator into the rectum. Squeeze the tube to empty the entire contents into the rectum. Throw away the tube, even if there is still some medicine left in it. For best results, hold in the enema for as long as possible, or until you have a bowel movement.
The rectal enema should produce a bowel movement within 2 to 15 minutes.
Do not use docusate 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.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since docusate 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 docusate?
Avoid using laxatives or other stool softeners unless your doctor has told you to.
Docusate side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using docusate 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 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.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Docusate dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Constipation:
Oral: 50 to 400 mg (using any of the salt forms) orally administered in 1 to 4 equally divided doses each day.
Rectal: 200 to 283 mg rectally administered as an enema once or twice.
Alternative: 50 to 100 mg (docusate sodium liquid) added to a retention or flushing enema once a day.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Constipation:
less than 3 years: 10 to 40 mg (docusate sodium) orally divided in 1 to 4 doses.
3 to 6 years: 20 to 60 mg (docusate sodium) orally divided in 1 to 4 doses.
6 to 12 years: 40 to 150 mg (docusate sodium) orally divided in 1 to 4 doses.
greater than 12 years: 50 to 400 mg (using any of the salt forms) orally administered in 1 to 4 equally divided doses each day.
3 to 18 years: 50 to 100 mg (docusate sodium liquid) added to a retention or flushing enema once a day.
Alternative: 200 to 283 mg rectally administered as an enema once daily as needed for constipation.
What other drugs will affect docusate?
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.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.03.
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- Drug class: laxatives