Docusate Sodium


In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for docusate, trade name ColaceTM.

What it’s for & How to take

Docusate is a stool softener used to treat constipation. This medication increases water retention in the stool which results in a softer stool and more frequent bowel movements. Many medications or medical conditions can increase the likelihood of constipation. Docusate is quite often the first therapy utilized for treating constipation. This medication is regularly used when a patient needs to decrease the urge to strain to move their bowel; such as after surgery or procedure of some kind.

Docusate is an over the counter medication. Read and follow all the directions on the medication package unless directed otherwise by your doctor. Take each dose with a full 8-ounce glass of water. The water is necessary to help the medication soften the stool.

When taken as directed, this medication will usually produce results within 1-2 days; however, results may take as long as 3-5 days. If no bowel movement is produced, or your condition worsens, contact your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the issue. This medication is not to be used for more than 7 days without direction from your doctor.

Do not take a larger dose than is directed on the packaging unless directed to do so by your doctor. If you notice that your condition is not improving or is worsening, contact your pharmacist or doctor to discuss the situation.

If your doctor has prescribed you to take this medication daily and you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.

Warnings & Cautions

  • If you have recently experienced acute abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, please contact your health care provider before using this medication.
  • Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
  • This medication is approved for use in children; however, consult your pharmacist or doctor before giving a dose of this medication to your child.

Interactions & Side Effects

  • Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if docusate is safe for you to take.
  • Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
  • Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have

persistent nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, other intestinal issues, or any sudden changes in bowel habits over the past 2 weeks. This medication is not to be used if a bowel obstruction is present.

  • While taking docusate, you may feel some excess gas, nausea, cramping or diarrhea. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any persistent diarrhea or blood in your stool.

If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Updated 7/20