Compare lactulose vs. senna

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

Generlac (lactulose)

Prescription only

Senokot (senna)

Over-the-counter
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 occasional constipation.

Senokot (senna) is gentle and effective for occasional constipation, but it can't be used as a long-term treatment.

3.4/ 5 average rating with 69 reviewsforsenna
Upsides
  • 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 tolerated well and has few side effects.
  • Approved for children as young as 2 years old.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Using Senokot (senna) often or for a long period of time can increase the risk of dehydration, especially if you are older or also taking diuretics.
  • Might take a few days to work which is slower than some of its alternatives.
  • Can only be used as a short-term treatment.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Liquid
  • Powder
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Price
No pricing information available
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Reviews
Not enough review data.Leave a review
69 reviews so far
58%
saidit'sworth it
35%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Generlac (lactulose) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Senokot (senna) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Mineral imbalances
    • Taking Generlac (lactulose) for more than 6 months
    • Elderly
    • Taking medications that cause mineral imbalance
    • Not exercising regularly
  • Increased blood sugar
    • Diabetes
  • Problems during colonoscopy
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Bowel blockage
  • Laxative dependence
See more detailed risks and warnings
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Disclaimer: We don't provide medical advice. If you think you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.