Compare Colace vs. lactulose

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Colace
(Docusate)

lactulose

Softens things up. Colace (Docusate) takes longer to work that some alternatives, but it's a more comfortable way to relieve constipation.Relieves constipation and gets rid of ammonia in people with liver problems. Generlac (lactulose) relieves constipation and high ammonia levels, but it can take up to 48 hours to work.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.93Colace
Reviews for Colace
66%
of people (All ages) say Colace is worth it
49%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
125 reviews
Have you used Colace (Docusate)?
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Have you used Generlac (lactulose)?
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Side effects
Colacelactulose

We haven’t found good data for Colace side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Colace »

The lactulose FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about lactulose side effects »
How it works
Colacelactulose
Colace (Docusate) is a stool softener. It allows both fats and water into stool, which softens it and makes it easier to pass.Generlac (lactulose) draws water into the intestines to soften your stool for easier passing. It also helps draw ammonia into your stool for removal from the body.
Type of medication
Colacelactulose
Over-the-counterLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
Colacelactulose
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Powder
Used for
Colacelactulose
Risk factors for serious side effects
Colacelactulose
  • Age 60 or older
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)
  • Malignancy
Detailed Colace (Docusate) risks & warnings »
  • Taking Generlac (lactulose) for more than 6 months
  • Elderly
  • Taking medications that cause mineral imbalance
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Diabetes
Detailed Generlac (lactulose) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Food
Colacelactulose
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
No food related info.
Pain
Colacelactulose
  • Ask your doctor before taking Colace if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
Colacelactulose
  • Colace is a gentle, non-irritating, non-stimulant constipation reliever.
  • It doesn't cause cramping or the uncomfortable feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • Most people feel Colace is worth the hassle.
  • It's safe to use short-term during pregnancy and if you're breast-feeding, but you should still check with your baby doctor first.
  • Colace is used to prevent straining in people who recently had a heart attack.
  • It's a good choice after surgery, giving birth, or when you have hemorrhoids.
  • Generlac (lactulose) is the first-choice treatment for brain conditions caused by high ammonia levels.
  • Can be used if you have severe chronic constipation leading to blockage.
  • Available in generic.
  • Can be taken orally or rectally.
Downsides and risks
Colacelactulose
  • May take up to 12 to 72 hours to take effect.
  • People who are older have medical conditions and take a lot of medicines may need more than 200 mg a day to get results.
  • It may be weaker than alternatives since it isn't a laxative. Studies show that stool softeners like Colace may be less effective than psyllium when it comes to treating constipation.
  • Should not be used if you are on a galactose-restricted diet.
  • Does not provide rapid relief of constipation. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you need quick relief.
  • Generlac (lactulose) has a very sweet flavor that most people don't like.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Colacelactulose
  • It's best to take daily doses at bedtime or you can take it twice a day, but not for more than one week. Works in about 12-72 hours.
  • Ask your doctor about giving Colace to anyone younger than 2 years.
  • Don't use if you're taking mineral oil for constipation. Ask your doctor first.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Colace if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Check with your baby doctor before using or if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • Generlac (lactulose) works within 24 to 48 hours to produce a bowel movement.
  • If you are taking this for constipation, it is usually taken once a day.
  • The goal is for you to have 2 to 3 stools a day.
  • You can mix the oral solution in juice, water, or milk for better taste.
  • Generlac (lactulose) can cause you to be dehydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of fluids.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and drinking plenty of fluids can help you prevent constipation.
Learn more
More about ColaceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Colace (Docusate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about lactuloseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Generlac (lactulose)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it