Compare Dulcolax vs. Senna

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

Dulcolax
(Bisacodyl)

Senokot
(Senna)

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.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
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 Senokot (Senna)
57%
8% vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
35%
14% vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
10%
+5% vs. Dulcolax (Bisacodyl)
Side effects
DulcolaxSenna

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

FDA side effect reports for Dulcolax »

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

FDA side effect reports for Senna »
How it works
DulcolaxSenna
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.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
DulcolaxSenna
Laxative
Stimulant
Over-the-counter
Laxative
Stimulant
Over-the-counter
Available as
DulcolaxSenna
  • Pill
  • Suppository
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
DulcolaxSenna
Risk factors for serious side effects
DulcolaxSenna
  • 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 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
DulcolaxSenna
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
DulcolaxSenna
  • 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.
  • 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
DulcolaxSenna
  • 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.
  • 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
DulcolaxSenna
  • 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 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 DulcolaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert