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Dulcolax (bisacodyl) is a laxative used to alleviate constipation, promote regularity in certain bowel disorders, and to empty the bowels prior to certain medical procedures. It is safe for use in patients 12 years of age and up.
The medication comes in small, easy-to-swallow tablets which cause a bowel movement around 8 hours later. Tablets are typically taken at bedtime, but can be taken at other times if preferred.
Getting the Most from Dulcolax
Outside of a medical setting Dulcolax is usually taken to provide relief from constipation, so is used as-needed. It should not be used for more than 7 consecutive days, however, without the advice of a doctor; chronic constipation may be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem.
Dulcolax works in two ways:
Each Dulcolax tablet contains 5 mg of bisacodyl. Dosing is largely determined by individual response to treatment:
At smaller doses of 5 to 10 mg Dulcolax is a gentle treatment which, in the majority of users, produces only mild stomach upset, cramps, gas and so forth. Resulting bowel movements are urgent but controllable, and may be watery. Movements may continue throughout the day.
At higher doses, 15 to 30 mg, side effects of cramps, nausea, gas and so forth may be considerably stronger. at 30 mg movements are likely to be extremely urgent and possibly uncontrollable. Urgent, diarrhea-like movements will likely continue throughout the day and possibly into the next. Higher doses of Dulcolax are typically reserved for medical settings when the bowels need to be completely evacuated prior to a medical procedure.
Administration is simple once effects are known:
Some patients prefer to take Dulcolax in the morning rather than bedtime, claiming side effects are less severe and movements are produced much faster, as short as 3 hours after administration.
Warnings & Side Effects
Most of the time constipation is easily treated and nothing to be too concerned about. Unfortunately this is not always the case, and it can be a symptom of a very serious underlying issue. While taking Dulcolax, or any laxative, be alert for warning signs that warrant medical attention:
Certain patients are more likely to experience serious side effects, namely those who have a history of:
The majority of users are able to use Dulcolax with few or no problems. The most common side effects involve mild gastrointestinal upset, including:
Dulcolax should not be used in patients under 12 years of age without doctor approval, as dosage adjustments may be necessary.
Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.