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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Laxatives

Laxatives (Oral)

Description and Brand Names | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects | Additional Information

Category
  • Antacid - Magnesium Hydroxide; Magnesium Oxide
  • Antidiarrheal - Polycarbophil; Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid
  • Antihyperammonemic - Lactulose
  • Antihyperlipidemic - Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid
  • Hydrocholeretic - Dehydrocholic Acid
  • Laxative, bulk-forming - Malt Soup Extract; Malt Soup Extract and Psyllium; Methylcellulose; Polycarbophil; Psyllium; Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid; Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Carboxymethylcellulose
  • Laxative, bulk-forming and stimulant - Psyllium and Senna; Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Senna; Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Sennosides
  • Laxative, carbon dioxide-releasing - Potassium Bitartrate and Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Laxative, hyperosmotic - Glycerin; Lactulose; Polyethylene Glycol
  • Laxative, hyperosmotic and lubricant - Magnesium Hydroxide and Mineral Oil; Mineral Oil and Glycerin
  • Laxative, hyperosmotic and stimulant - Magnesium Hydroxide and Cascara Sagrada
  • Laxative, hyperosmotic, saline - Magnesium Citrate; Magnesium Hydroxide; Magnesium Oxide; Magnesium Sulfate; Sodium Phosphate
  • Laxative, lubricant - Mineral Oil
  • Laxative, stimulant and stool softener (emollient) - Bisacodyl and Docusate; Casanthranol and Docusate; Danthron and Docusate; Dehydrocholic Acid and Docusate; Sennosides and Docusate
  • Laxative, stimulant or contact - Bisacodyl; Casanthranol; Cascara Sagrada and Bisacodyl; Cascara Sagrada; Cascara Sagrada and Aloe; Castor Oil; Dehydrocholic Acid; Senna; Sennosides
  • Laxative, stool softener (emollient) - Docusate; Poloxamer 188
Description

Oral laxatives are medicines taken by mouth to encourage bowel movements to relieve constipation.

There are several different types of oral laxatives and they work in different ways. Since directions for use are different for each type, it is important to know which one you are taking. The different types of oral laxatives include:

-

Bulk-formers - Bulk-forming laxatives are not digested but absorb liquid in the intestines and swell to form a soft, bulky stool. The bowel is then stimulated normally by the presence of the bulky mass. Some bulk-forming laxatives, like psyllium and polycarbophil, may be prescribed by your doctor to treat diarrhea.

-

Hyperosmotics - Hyperosmotic laxatives encourage bowel movements by drawing water into the bowel from surrounding body tissues. This provides a soft stool mass and increased bowel action.

There are three types of hyperosmotic laxatives taken by mouth - the saline, the lactulose , and the polymer types. The saline type is often called ''salts.'" They are used for rapid emptying of the lower intestine and bowel. They are not used for long-term or repeated correction of constipation. With smaller doses than those used for the laxative effect, some saline laxatives are used as antacids. The information that follows applies only to their use as laxatives. Sodium phosphate may also be prescribed for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

The lactulose type is a special sugar-like laxative that works the same way as the saline type. However, it produces results much more slowly and is often used for long-term treatment of chronic constipation. Lactulose may sometimes be used in the treatment of certain medical conditions to reduce the amount of ammonia in the blood. It is available only with your doctor's prescription.

The polymer type is a polyglycol (polyethylene glycol), a large molecule that causes water to be retained in the stool; this will soften the stool and increase the number of bowel movements. It is used for short periods of time to treat constipation.

-

Lubricants - Lubricant laxatives, such as mineral oil, taken by mouth encourage bowel movements by coating the bowel and the stool mass with a waterproof film. This keeps moisture in the stool. The stool remains soft and its passage is made easier.

-

Stimulants - Stimulant laxatives, also known as contact laxatives, encourage bowel movements by acting on the intestinal wall. They increase the muscle contractions that move along the stool mass. Stimulant laxatives are a popular type of laxative for self-treatment. However, they also are more likely to cause side effects. One of the stimulant laxatives, dehydrocholic acid, may also be used for treating certain conditions of the biliary tract.

-

Stool softeners (emollients) - Stool softeners encourage bowel movements by helping liquids mix into the stool and prevent dry, hard stool masses. This type of laxative has been said not to cause a bowel movement but instead allows the patient to have a bowel movement without straining.

-

Combinations - There are many products that you can buy for constipation that contain more than one type of laxative. For example, a product may contain both a stool softener and a stimulant laxative. In general, combination products may be more likely to cause side effects because of the multiple ingredients. In addition, they may not offer any advantage over products containing only one type of laxative. If you are taking a combination laxative, make certain you know the proper use and precautions for each of the different ingredients .

Most laxatives (except saline laxatives) may be used to provide relief:

  • during pregnancy.
  • for a few days after giving birth.
  • during preparation for examination or surgery.
  • for constipation of bedfast patients.
  • for constipation caused by other medicines.
  • following surgery when straining should be avoided.
  • following a period of poor eating habits or a lack of physical exercise in order to develop normal bowel function (bulk-forming laxatives only).
  • for some medical conditions that may be made worse by straining, for example:
    • Heart disease
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Hernia (rupture)
    • High blood pressure (hypertension)
    • History of stroke

Saline laxatives have more limited uses and may be used to provide rapid results:

  • during preparation for examination or surgery.
  • for elimination of food or drugs from the body in cases of poisoning or overdose.
  • for simple constipation that happens on occasion (although another type of laxative may be preferred).
  • in supplying a fresh stool sample for diagnosis.

Most laxatives are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions for the proper use and dose for your medical condition. They are available in the following dosage forms:

    Oral
  • Bulk-forming laxatives -
    • Malt Soup Extract
      • Powder (U.S.)
      • Oral solution (U.S.)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Malt Soup Extract and Psyllium
      • Powder (U.S.)
    • Methylcellulose
      • Capsules (U.S.)
      • Granules (U.S.)
      • Powder (U.S.)
      • Oral solution (U.S.)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Polycarbophil
      • Tablets (U.S.)
      • Chewable tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Psyllium
      • Caramels (U.S.)
      • Granules (U.S.)
      • Powder (U.S.)
    • Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid
      • Granules (U.S. and Canada)
      • Powder (U.S. and Canada)
      • Effervescent powder (U.S.)
      • For oral suspension (Canada)
      • Wafers (U.S.)
    • Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Carboxymethylcellulose
      • Granules (U.S.)
  • Bulk-forming and stimulant combinations -
    • Psyllium and Senna
      • Granules (U.S.)
    • Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Senna
      • Granules (Canada)
    • Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Sennosides
      • Powder (U.S.)
  • Hyperosmotic laxative - Lactulose:
    • Lactulose
      • Solution (U.S. and Canada)
  • Hyperosmotic laxative - Polyethylene Glycol:
    • Polyethylene glycol 3350
      • Powder (U.S. and Canada)
  • Hyperosmotic laxatives - Saline:
    • Magnesium Citrate
      • Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)
    • Magnesium Hydroxide
      • Milk of magnesia (U.S. and Canada)
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Magnesium Oxide
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Magnesium Sulfate
      • Crystals (U.S. and Canada)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Sodium Phosphate
      • Effervescent powder (U.S.)
      • Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)
  • Hyperosmotic and lubricant combinations -
    • Milk of Magnesia and Mineral Oil
      • Emulsion (U.S. and Canada)
    • Mineral Oil and Glycerin
      • Emulsion (Canada)
  • Hyperosmotic and stimulant combination -
    • Milk of Magnesia and Cascara Sagrada
      • Oral Suspension (U.S.)
  • Lubricant laxatives -
    • Mineral Oil
      • Oil (U.S. and Canada)
      • Emulsion (U.S. and Canada)
      • Gel (Canada)
      • Oral suspension (U.S.)
  • Stimulant laxatives -
    • Bisacodyl
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Casanthranol
      • Syrup (U.S.)
    • Cascara Sagrada
      • Fluidextract (U.S. and Canada)
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Cascara Sagrada and Aloe
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Cascara Sagrada and Bisacodyl
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Castor Oil
      • Oil (U.S. and Canada)
      • Emulsion (U.S.)
    • Dehydrocholic Acid
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Senna
      • Granules (U.S.)
      • Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)
      • For oral solution (U.S.)
      • Syrup (U.S.)
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
    • Sennosides
      • Granules (U.S. and Canada)
      • Oral solution (Canada)
      • Syrup (U.S. and Canada)
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Stimulant and stool softener (emollient) combinations -
    • Bisacodyl and Docusate
      • Tablets (Canada)
    • Casanthranol and Docusate
      • Capsules (U.S. and Canada)
      • Syrup (U.S.)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Danthron and Docusate
      • Capsules (Canada)
      • Tablets (Canada)
    • Dehydrocholic Acid and Docusate
      • Capsules (U.S.)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Sennosides and Docusate
      • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Stool softener (emollient) laxatives -
    • Docusate
      • Capsules (U.S. and Canada)
      • Oral solution (U.S. and Canada)
      • Syrup (U.S. and Canada)
      • Tablets (U.S.)
    • Poloxamer 188
      • Capsules (U.S.)

Brand Names

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S. -

  • Agoral 35
  • Alophen 25
  • Alphamul 30
  • Alramucil Orange 7
  • Alramucil Regular 7
  • Bisac-Evac 25
  • Black-Draught 26
  • Black-Draught Lax-Senna 32
  • Carter's Little Pills 25
  • Cholac 14
  • Citroma 16
  • Citrucel Orange Flavor 3
  • Citrucel Sugar-Free Orange Flavor 3
  • Colace 39
  • Constilac 14
  • Constulose 14
  • Correctol 25
  • Correctol Caplets 25
  • Correctol Herbal Tea 32
  • Correctol Stool Softener Soft Gels 39
  • DC Softgels 39
  • Diocto 39
  • Diocto-C 35
  • Dioeze 39
  • Diosuccin 39
  • Docu-K Plus 35
  • DOK 39
  • DOK Softgels 39
  • D.O.S. Softgels 39
  • Dr. Caldwell Senna Laxative 32
  • D-S-S 39
  • D-S-S plus 35
  • Dulcolax 25
  • Emulsoil 30
  • Enulose 14
  • Epsom salts 19
  • Equalactin 4
  • Evac-U-Gen 33
  • Ex-Lax 33
  • Ex-Lax Chocolate 33
  • FemiLax 25
  • Fiberall 7
  • Fibercon Caplets 4
  • Fiber-Lax 4
  • FiberNorm 4
  • Fleet Laxative 25
  • Fleet Mineral Oil 24
  • Fleet Phospho-Soda 20
  • Fleet Soflax Gelcaps 39
  • Fleet Soflax Overnight Gelcaps 35
  • Fletcher's Castoria 32
  • Genasoft Plus Softgels 35
  • Gentle Laxative 25
  • Haley's M-O 21
  • Herbal Laxative 33
  • Hydrocil Instant 7
  • Kondremul Plain 24
  • Konsyl 6
  • Konsyl-D 7
  • Konsyl Easy Mix 7
  • Konsyl-Orange 7
  • Konsyl-Orange Sugar Free 7
  • Laxinate 100 39
  • Liqui-Doss 24
  • Mag-Ox 400 18
  • Maltsupex 1
  • Metamucil 7
  • Metamucil Apple Crisp Fiber Wafers 7
  • Metamucil Cinnamon Spice Fiber Wafers 7
  • Metamucil Orange Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Smooth, Citrus Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Smooth, Orange Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Smooth Sugar-Free, Citrus Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Smooth Sugar-Free, Orange Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Smooth Sugar-Free, Regular Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Sugar-Free, Lemon-Lime Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Orange Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Sugar-Free, Orange Flavor 7
  • MiraLax 15
  • Modane 25
  • Modane Bulk 7
  • Mylanta Natural Fiber Supplement 7
  • Mylanta Sugar Free Natural Fiber Supplement 7
  • Nature's Remedy 33
  • Neoloid 30
  • Perdiem 9
  • Perdiem Fiber 6
  • Peri-Colace 35
  • Peri-Dos Softgels 35
  • Phillips" Chewable 17
  • Phillips" Concentrated 17
  • Phillips" Stool Softner Laxative Softgels 39
  • Phillips" Milk of Magnesia 17
  • Prompt 11
  • Purge 30
  • Reguloid Natural 7
  • Reguloid Natural Sugar Free 7
  • Reguloid Orange 7
  • Reguloid Orange Sugar Free 7
  • Senexon 32
  • Senna-Gen 32
  • Senokot 33
  • Senokot Children's Syrup 33
  • Senokot-S 38
  • SenokotXTRA 33
  • Senolax 32
  • Serutan 7
  • Serutan Toasted Granules 8
  • Silace 39
  • Silace-C 35
  • Sulfolax 39
  • Surfak 39
  • Syllact 6
  • Veracolate 25
  • V-Lax 7
  • X-Prep Liquid 32

In Canada -

  • Acilac 14
  • Apo-Bisacodyl 25
  • Bicholate Lilas 29
  • Bisacolax 25
  • Carter's Little Pills 25
  • Citro-Mag 16
  • Colace 39
  • Correctol 25
  • Correctol Stool Softener Soft Gels 39
  • Dulcolax 25
  • Ex-Lax 33
  • Ex-Lax Chocolate 33
  • Ex-Lax Extra Strength 33
  • Ex-Lax Gentle Strength 38
  • Feen-a-Mint 25
  • Fletcher's Castoria 33
  • Glysennid 33
  • Herbal Laxative 32
  • Kondremul 24
  • Lanso˙l 24
  • Lanso˙l Sugar Free 24
  • Magnolax 21
  • Metamucil 7
  • Metamucil Orange Flavor 7
  • Metamucil Sugar Free 7
  • Metamucil Sugar-Free, Orange Flavor 7
  • Natural Source Fibre Laxative 7
  • Nature's Remedy 33
  • Nujol 24
  • Peri-Colace 35
  • Phillips" Magnesia Tablets 17
  • Phillips" Milk of Magnesia 17
  • PMS-Bisacodyl 25
  • PMS-Docusate Calcium 39
  • PMS-Docusate Sodium 39
  • PMS-Lactulose 14
  • PMS-Sennosides 33
  • Prodiem Plain 7
  • Prodiem Plus 10
  • Pro-Lax 15
  • Senokot 33
  • Senokot-S 38
  • SenoKot XTRA 33
  • Silace 39
  • Soflax 39
  • Surfak 39
  • Vitalax Super Smooth Sugar Free Orange Flavor 7
  • Vitalax Unflavored 7

Note:

For quick reference the following laxatives are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

Bulk-forming laxatives -
1. Malt Soup Extract (malt soup EX-tract)†
2. Malt Soup Extract and Psyllium (malt soup EX-tract and SILL-i-yum)†
3. Methylcellulose (meth-ill-SELL-yoo-lose)†‡
4. Polycarbophil (pol-i-KAR-boe-fil)
5. Polycarbophil and Psyllium (pol-i-KAR-boe-fil and SILL-i-yum )†
6. Psyllium (SILL-i-yum)†
7. Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid (SILL-i-yumhye-droe-FILL-ik MYOO-sill-oid)
8. PsylliumHydrophilic Mucilloid and Carboxymethylcellulose (SILL-i-yum hye-droe-FILL-ik MYOO-sill-oid and kar-box-ee-meth-ill-SELL-yoo-lose)†
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
Bulk-forming and stimulant combinations -
9. Psyllium and Senna (SILL-i-yum andSEN-na)†
10. Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Senna (SILL-i-yum hye-droe-FILL-ik MYOO-sill-oid and SEN-na)*
11. Psyllium Hydrophilic Mucilloid and Sennosides (SILL-i-yum hye-droe-FILL-ik MYOO-sill-oid and SEN-no-sydes)†
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
Bulk-forming, stimulant, and stool softener (emollient)combinations -
12. Product not available
Bulk-forming and stool softener (emollient) combinations -
13. Product not available
Hyperosmotic laxatives - Lactulose:
14. Lactulose (LAC-tu-los)‡§
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada
Hyperosmotic laxatives - Polymer:
15. Polyethylene glycol 3350 (pol-ee-ETH-ill-een GLYE-cal)
Hyperosmotic laxatives - Saline:
16. Magnesium Citrate (mag-NEE-zhum SI-trate)‡§
17. Magnesium Hydroxide (mag-NEE-zhumhye-DROX-ide)‡§
18. Magnesium Oxide (mag-NEE-zhum OX-ide)†
19. MagnesiumSulfate (mag-NEE-zhum SUL-fate)†‡
20. Sodium Phosphate (SOE-dee-umFOS-fate)†‡
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada
Hyperosmotic and lubricant combinations -
21. Milk of Magnesia and Mineral Oil (milk of mag-NEE-zha and MIN-er-al oil)†
22. Mineral Oil and Glycerin (MIN-er-aloil and GLIH-ser-in)*
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
Hyperosmotic and stimulant combinations -
23. Milk of Magnesia and Cascara Sagrada (milk of mag-NEE-zha and kas-KAR-a sa-GRA-da)†‡
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
Lubricant laxatives -
24. Mineral Oil (MIN-er-al oil)‡§
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada
Stimulant laxatives -
25. Bisacodyl (bis-a-KOE-dill)‡
26. Casanthranol (cas-SAN-thrah-nole)†
27. Cascara Sagrada (kas-KAR-a sa-GRA-da)‡§
28. Cascara Sagrada and Aloe (kas-KAR-a sa-GRA-da and AL-owe)
29. CascaraSagrada and Bisacodyl (kas-KAR-a sa-GRA-daand bis-a-KOE-dill)
30. Castor Oil (KAS-tor)‡§
31. Dehydrocholic Acid (dee-hye-droe-KOE-likacid)†‡
32. Senna (SEN-na)
33. Sennosides (SEN-no-sides)§
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada
Stimulant and stool softener (emollient) combinations -
34. Bisacodyl and Docusate (bis-a-KOE-dilland doc-CUE-sayt)*
35. Casanthranoland Docusate (cas-SAN-thrah-nole anddoc-CUE-sayt)‡
36. Danthron and Docusate (DAN-thron and doc-CUE-sayt)*
37. DehydrocholicAcid and Docusate (dee-hye-droe-KOE-likacid and doc-CUE-sayt)†
38. Sennosides and Docusate (SEN-no-sides and doc-CUE-sayt)
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
Stool softener (emollient) laxatives -
39. Docusate (doc-CUE-sayt)‡§
40. Poloxamer 188 (pol-OX-a-mer 188)†
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
§ Generic name product may be available in Canada

   

Next section

   

Laxatives: Before Using



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