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Docusate is used orally or as an enema in the prevention and treatment of constipation that has lasted for a long time, to soften hard dry stools and to reduce straining at stools during piles (haemorrhoids) and anal cuts (fissures) and along with certain types of X-ray procedures of the stomach.

How it works

Docusate is a laxative that works by increasing the amount of water the stool absorbs in the gut, making the stool softer and easier to pass.

Common side effects

Nausea, Diarrhoea, Rash, Stomach cramp


Expert advice

  • Consult the doctor if you have noticed a sudden change in bowel movements that continues over a period of 2 weeks, rectal bleeding or fail to have bowel movement after using docusate.
  • You should  increase fluid intake and dietary fibre intake along with appropriate physical activity while taking treatment for constipation with docusate.
  • Inform your doctor if you need to take laxatives every day or if there is a persistent abdominal pain.
  • Docusate may cause allergic reactions as it contains a colouring agent E110.
  • Do not take docusate capsules at the same time with mineral oil.
  • Do not take docusate with other laxatives or stool softeners unless recommended by the doctor.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is docusate sodium the same as Colace?
Yes, docusate sodium is the same as Colace.
Q. Is docusate sodium addictive/cause dependency?
Docusate is addictive and leads to dependency when used for a long time.
Q. Is docusate sodium gluten free?
Docusate sodium is gluten free.
Q. Is docusate sodium safe for long term use?
Long-term use of docusate sodium leads to dependency. Prolonged use interferes with normal bowel function.
Q. How long can I take docusate sodium for?
Docusate sodium should be taken for the duration recommended by the doctor depending on the severity of the condition.
Q. Does docusate sodium cause water retention?
Docusate causes water retention so that the water is absorbed by the stools in the gut making the stool softer and easier to pass.
Q. Does docusate sodium raise blood pressure?
Docusate sodium does not raise blood pressure.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)