What is Dulcolax?
Dulcolax is a laxative. Dulcolax tablets and suppositories contain the active ingredient bisacodyl, which works by stimulating the nerve endings in the walls of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This causes the muscles in the intestinal wall to contract more often and with increased force. Dulcolax also increases the water content and volume of the bowel contents, which helps stools become softer and easier to pass. Dulcolax is available without a prescription.
What is Dulcolax used for?
This laxative is used to treat bowel obstruction (constipation). The symptoms of constipation are:
- No bowel movements, no urge to poo;
- Stools that are hard and difficult to pass;
- Abdominal pain, bloating;
- Nausea and/or a feeling of fullness in the stomach;
- Haemorrhoids and/or anal fissures as a result of straining on the toilet.
Constipation can be caused by a number of things such as a low-fibre diet, lack of hydration or exercise, or ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement. Constipation is also common during pregnancy and in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Dulcolax relieves constipation by making stool soft and enabling smooth bowel movements.
How to use Dulcolax
Dulcolax is available in tablet and suppository form. Dulcolax tablets have a special enteric coating that is designed to prevent them from dissolving in the acidic environment of the stomach. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed or broken, to avoid damaging this coating. Dulcolax tablets start to work six to twelve hours after you take them. They should be taken at night to produce relief from constipation the following morning.
Dulcolax suppositories start to work in less than an hour, so they are useful if you want fast relief from constipation. They can be taken at any time of the day. The suppositories are for anal use. See the package leaflet for instructions on how to insert the suppositories.
Unless otherwise prescribed, the usual dose is:
- Adults and children aged 10 above: one to two tablets a day OR one suppository a day;
- Children aged 2 to 10: one tablet a day.
Dulcolax suppositories are not suitable for children under 10 years of age. Dulcolax should not be used for more than three consecutive days to prevent habituation. If Dulcolax does not have the desired effect, then you should contact your doctor. Read the package leaflet before use.
Dulcolax tablets and suppositories may cause side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Stomach ache, flatulence;
For more information on possible side effects, see the package leaflet.
When not to use Dulcolax
Dulcolax is not suitable for everyone. Do not use this laxative if:
- You are allergic to bisacodyl or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You have blockage of the gut (intestinal obstruction or ileus);
- You have appendicitis or acute inflammation of the intestines;
- You have severe stomach pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting.
Dulcolax should to be used in combination with diuretics (water pills) or corticosteroids. Therefore, it is important to tell the doctor what other medicines you are already taking when you order.
See the package leaflet for more information on contraindications and interactions.
Do not use Dulcolax without your doctor’s approval if you are pregnant. Dulcolax is safe for use while breastfeeding.
This medicine does not affect your reaction time or interact with alcohol.