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.Helps get things moving. Senokot (Senna) is gentle and effective, but it may be weaker than other laxatives.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.928Colace
Reviews for Colace (Docusate)
66%
of people say Colace (Docusate) is worth it
49%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Senokot (Senna)
57%
9% vs. Colace (Docusate)
35%
14% vs. Colace (Docusate)
10%
+3% vs. Colace (Docusate)
Side effects
ColaceSenna

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

FDA side effect reports for Colace »

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

FDA side effect reports for Senna »
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 plant-derived stimulant laxative. It causes waves of contractions (peristalsis) in your intestine muscles to push stool through. It also makes stool more watery.
Type of medication
ColaceSenna
Laxative
Stool softener
Over-the-counter
Laxative
Stimulant
Over-the-counter
Available as
ColaceSenna
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
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)
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
Detailed Colace (Docusate) risks & warnings »
  • Age 60 or greater
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Age 60 or older
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)
  • Allergy or sensitivity to aloe (cross-allergic reaction)
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Senokot (Senna) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
ColaceSenna
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

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.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

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.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-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.
  • Senna was used over 3,500 years ago, so it's been around for a while.
  • It's clinically proven to relieve constipation from a variety of causes.
  • One of the few laxatives that can be given to children 2 and older.
  • It may not work for everyone, but people felt it was worth the hassle.
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.
  • It may be gentle, but it's not the strongest laxative for constipation.
  • Senna can cause cramping or the feeling that you "have to go right now".
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 it at bedtime or as your doctor has prescribed, but not for more than one week. Works in about 6-12 hours.
  • Ask your doctor about giving Senna to anyone younger than 2 years.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Senna 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.
Learn more
More about ColaceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert