Docusate is an over-the-counter stool softener (emollient) that helps liquids to mix into dry, hardened stool, making the stool easier to pass.
Laxatives are to be used to provide short-term relief only, unless otherwise directed by the nurse or physician who is helping you to manage your bowel symptoms. A regimen that includes a healthy diet containing roughage (whole grain breads and cereals, bran, fruit, and green, leafy vegetables), six to eight full glasses of liquids each day, and some form of daily exercise is most important in stimulating healthy bowel function.
If your physician has recommended this laxative for management of constipation, follow his or her recommendations for its use. If you are treating yourself for constipation, follow the directions on the package insert.
Results usually occur one to two days after the first dose; some individuals may not get results for three to five days. Be sure to consult your physician if you experience problems or do not get relief within a week.
Do not take any type of laxative if you have signs of appendicitis or inflamed bowel (e.g., stomach or lower abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, soreness, nausea, or vomiting). Check with your physician as soon as possible.
Do not take any laxative for more than one week unless you have been told to do so by your physician. Many people tend to overuse laxatives, which often leads to dependence on the laxative action to produce a bowel movement. Discuss the use of laxatives with your health care professional in order to ensure that the laxative is used effectively as part of a comprehensive, healthy bowel management regimen.
Do not take mineral oil within two hours of taking docusate. The docusate may increase the amount of mineral oil that is absorbed by the body.
Do not take any laxative within two hours of taking another medication because the desired effectiveness of the other medication may be reduced.
If you are pregnant, discuss with your physician the most appropriate type of laxative for you to use.
Some laxatives pass into breast milk. Although it is unlikely to cause problems for a nursing infant, be sure to let your physician know if you are using a laxative and breast-feeding at the same time.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects that may go away as your body adjusts to the medication and do not require medical attention unless they persist or are bothersome: stomach and/or intestinal cramping.
Unusual side effect that should be reported to your physician as soon as possible: skin rash.
*Since it may be difficult to distinguish between certain common symptoms of MS and some side effects of docusate, be sure to consult your health care professional if an abrupt change of this type occurs.