Compare Dulcolax vs. Colace

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

Dulcolax
(Bisacodyl)

Colace
(Docusate)

Treats constipation. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) works fast and the suppositories work even faster to relieve your constipation, as long as you're okay with it "cramping" your style a bit.Softens things up. Colace (Docusate) takes longer to work that some alternatives, but it's a more comfortable way to relieve constipation.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.128205128205129Dulcolax
Reviews for Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
65%
of people say Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) is worth it
49%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Colace (Docusate)
66%
+1% vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
49%
Same vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
13%
+2% vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
Side effects
DulcolaxColace

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

FDA side effect reports for Dulcolax »

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

FDA side effect reports for Colace »
How it works
DulcolaxColace
Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) is a stimulant laxative that you can take by mouth or in a suppository. It causes waves of contractions (peristalsis) in your intestine muscles to push stool through. It also makes stool more watery.Colace (Docusate) is a stool softener. It allows both fats and water into stool, which softens it and makes it easier to pass.
Type of medication
DulcolaxColace
Laxative
Stimulant
Over-the-counter
Laxative
Stool softener
Over-the-counter
Available as
DulcolaxColace
  • Pill
  • Suppository
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
DulcolaxColace
Risk factors for serious side effects
DulcolaxColace
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • Age 60 or greater
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) risks & warnings »
  • 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 »
Pregnancy category
DulcolaxColace
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

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
DulcolaxColace
  • Most people said it was worth taking and it wasn't too much of a hassle.
  • Tablets give overnight relief of your constipation.
  • Dulcolax can also be used to treat constipation caused by spinal cord injury.
  • Suppositories give you quick relief without having to drink a large amount of liquid medicine.
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
DulcolaxColace
  • Dulcolax can cause cramping, stomach upset, feeling faint, and the feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • You have to be comfortable with putting the medicine in your rectum.
  • Suppositories can cause slight rectal burning.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
DulcolaxColace
  • Swallow tablets whole (don't chew or crush) at bedtime, but not for more than one week.
  • Tablet works in 6 to 12 hours. Suppository works in 15 minutes to an hour, so make sure you're near a bathroom.
  • Don't take tablets within 1 hour of taking antacids, milk or dairy products.
  • Be sure to remove the wrapper from the suppository before inserting it into your rectum.
  • Ask your doctor about giving Dulcolax to anyone younger than 6 years.
  • Don't take 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 breast-feeding.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • 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.
Learn more
More about DulcolaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about ColaceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert