Relieving occasional constipation and irregularity. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Dulcolax is a stimulant laxative. It acts directly on the bowels, stimulating the bowel muscles to cause a bowel movement.
Do NOT use Dulcolax if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Dulcolax
- you have severe stomach pain; appendicitis; severe constipation; stomach, intestinal, or rectal bleeding; or intestinal blockage
- you cannot swallow without chewing
- you are having abdominal surgery
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Dulcolax:
Tell your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have heart failure, abnormal levels of fluids or electrolytes in your body, nausea, vomiting, or undiagnosed stomach pain
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Dulcolax. However, no specific interactions with Dulcolax are known at this time.
Ask your health care provider if Dulcolax may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use Dulcolax:
Use Dulcolax as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Take Dulcolax by mouth with or without food.
- Take Dulcolax with a full glass of water (8 oz/240 mL).
- Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Dulcolax is recommended. Check with your doctor for instructions.
- Swallow Dulcolax whole. Do not break, crush, or chew before swallowing.
- Do not take Dulcolax within 1 hour after taking an antacid or milk.
- If you miss a dose of Dulcolax and are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Dulcolax.
For the Consumer
Applies to bisacodyl: oral tablets delayed-release, rectal suppositories, rectal suspension
Side effects include:
Some degree of abdominal discomfort, nausea, cramps, griping, and/or faintness with therapeutic doses.
Diarrhea, GI irritation, and fluid and electrolyte depletion.
Gastric irritation and the possibility of vomiting if enteric coating of tablets is disrupted. (See Advice to Patients.)
Rectal administration of bisacodyl (the active ingredient contained in Dulcolax) suspensions or suppositories may cause irritation and a sensation of burning of the rectal mucosa and mild proctitis.
Hepatotoxicity if sufficient tannic acid is absorbed from bisacodyl tannex.
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to bisacodyl: compounding powder, oral delayed release tablet, rectal enema, rectal suppository
Bisacodyl causes acute nonspecific inflammatory injury to the rectal mucosa, which can confound the assessment of patients with suspected inflammatory bowel disease.
The surreptitious abuse of laxatives is a common cause of severe chronic diarrhea. In some cases, the stool contains fecal leukocytes, which, in this case, is indicative of the irritant effect of bisacodyl (the active ingredient contained in Dulcolax) (nonspecific colonic mucosal inflammation), and not necessarily of infection. Surreptitious abuse of laxatives due to bisacodyl can be determined by urinalysis for a metabolite, bisacodyl diphenol. In some cases, stool analysis for bisacodyl could be considered in the diagnostic assessment.
Abdominal cramping has been described as a mild, colicky discomfort. This can be a problem since cramping my indicate not only a side effect of bisacodyl, but underlying gastrointestinal pathology.
Abdominal distension and vomiting are less common gastrointestinal side effects.
Gastrointestinal side effects have been reported the most frequently. These have included abdominal cramping, diarrhea, abdominal distention, and vomiting. Severe diarrhea has been reported as a possible result of surreptitious laxative abuse. The sensation of rectal "burning" with administration of bisacodyl enema has been reported.
The metabolic consequences of some Fleet bisacodyl (the active ingredient contained in Dulcolax) enema preparation kits that contain monobasic or dibasic sodium phosphate in patients with renal insufficiency can be profound. Due to the sodium and phosphate absorption, severe hypernatremia, hypophosphatemia, and hypocalcemia may occur.[Ref]
Metabolic side effects have included severe hypernatremia, hypophosphatemia, and hypocalcemia. These effects have been reported primarily with Fleet bisacodyl enema preparation kits that contain monobasic or dibasic sodium phosphate and administered to patients with renal insufficiency. Fleet bisacodyl enemas without these ingredients may be used safely in such patients.