Compare Colace vs. Senna

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

Colace
(docusate)

Senokot
(senna)

Softens things up. Colace (Docusate) takes longer to work that some alternatives, but it's a more comfortable way to relieve constipation.Relieves constipation. Senokot (senna) is gentle and effective, but it may be weaker than other laxatives.
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)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Senna
58%
+8% better vs. Colace
35%
+14% better vs. Colace
10%
-3% worse vs. Colace
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ColaceSenna

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

FDA side effect reports for Colace »

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

More about Senna side effects »
How it works
ColaceSenna
Colace (Docusate) is a stool softener. It allows both fats and water into stool, which softens it and makes it easier to pass.Senokot (senna) is a laxative. It causes contractions in your intestine muscles to push stool through. It also makes stool more watery.
Type of medication
ColaceSenna
Over-the-counterOver-the-counter
Available as
ColaceSenna
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
ColaceSenna
Risk factors for serious side effects
ColaceSenna
  • Age 60 or older
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)
  • Malignancy
Detailed Colace (docusate) risks & warnings »
  • Age 60 or older
  • Cancer
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
Detailed Senokot (senna) 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
ColaceSenna
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
No food related info.
Pain
ColaceSenna
  • 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
ColaceSenna
  • 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.
  • Senokot (senna) is generally well-tolerated.
  • Can be used if you have hemorrhoids.
  • Can be used in children as young as 2 years old.
Downsides and risks
ColaceSenna
  • 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.
  • Can cause salt imbalances in the blood, especially if you are dehydrated or if you are on water pills.
  • Takes longer to work compared to other medicines for constipation.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ColaceSenna
  • 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.
  • It's best to take Senokot (senna) at bedtime. You can expect to have a bowel movement the following morning.
  • You may need a combination of different constipation medicines if Senokot (senna) alone does not help.
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables with lots of fiber can help constipation.
  • Remaining active and staying hydrated are good ways to prevent constipation.
  • Certain medications can increase your risk of constipation. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about changing your medicines to lower your risk.
Learn more
More about ColaceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Colace (docusate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it