Compare lactulose vs. Senna

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

Generlac
(lactulose)

Senokot
(senna)

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.Relieves constipation. Senokot (senna) is gentle and effective, but it may be weaker than other laxatives.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Generlac (lactulose)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Senna
58%
+42% better vs. lactulose
35%
+65% better vs. lactulose
10%
+10% better vs. lactulose
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
lactuloseSenna

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

More about lactulose side effects »

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

More about Senna side effects »
How it works
lactuloseSenna
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.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
lactuloseSenna
Prescription onlyOver-the-counter
Available as
lactuloseSenna
  • Liquid
  • Powder
  • Pill
Used for
lactuloseSenna
Risk factors for serious side effects
lactuloseSenna
  • Taking Generlac (lactulose) for more than 6 months
  • Elderly
  • Taking medications that cause mineral imbalance
  • Not exercising regularly
  • Diabetes
Detailed Generlac (lactulose) 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
Upsides and benefits
lactuloseSenna
  • 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.
  • 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
lactuloseSenna
  • 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.
  • 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
lactuloseSenna
  • 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.
  • 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 lactuloseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Generlac (lactulose)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it