Compare Magnesium Citrate vs. Senna

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

Citrate Of Magnesia
(Magnesium Citrate)

Senokot
(Senna)

Treats constipation. Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) works well if you need to really get things moving, but it's not a good medicine to manage chronic 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
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Reviews for Senokot (Senna)
57%
43% vs. Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate)
35%
65% vs. Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate)
10%
10% vs. Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate)
Side effects
Magnesium CitrateSenna

We haven’t found good data for Magnesium Citrate side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Magnesium Citrate »

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

FDA side effect reports for Senna »
How it works
Magnesium CitrateSenna
Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) is an osmotic and stimulant laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. It also causes waves of contractions (peristalsis) in your intestine muscles to push stool through.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
Magnesium CitrateSenna
LaxativePrescription or OTC
Laxative
Stimulant
Over-the-counter
Available as
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
Magnesium CitrateSenna
Risk factors for serious side effects
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Taking Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) if you have kidney disease and neuromuscular disease
  • Taking Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) if you have neuromuscular disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Taking other magnesium-containing medicines or supplements
Detailed Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) 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
Magnesium CitrateSenna
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
  • Ask your doctor before taking Magnesium Citrate if you have kidney disease, are on a limited magnesium or sodium diet, have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Magnesium can build up in your blood if you have kidney problems. High magnesium levels can be dangerous and affect your heart, cause weakness and lower your calcium levels. Don't take Citrate Of Magnesia (Magnesium Citrate) if you have problems with your kidneys or are taking other magnesium-containing medicines. or supplements..
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
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Really strong laxative that gets things moving fast.
  • Can also be used to prep your bowel before you go for surgery or colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you specific instructions if you use it this way.
  • 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
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • It doesn't work for everyone and some people feel it's a hassle.
  • Some brands are of Magnesium Citrate are tinted red and can change the color of your stool.
  • Can cause dizziness, weakness, diarrhea, and the feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • Magnesium Citrate contains magnesium which prevents certain medicines from working properly. Make sure you take your dose of Magnesium Citrate at least 2 hours before or after other medicines.
  • You can't take it for more than a week or so.
  • 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
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Magnesium Citrate starts working in 30 minutes to 6 hours.
  • Works fast, so don't take it too close to bedtime.
  • The dose is different for adults and children so check the label and ask your doctor about giving to anyone younger than 6 years.
  • It tastes better if you chill the bottle before you take it. Make sure you drink 8 ounces (a full glass) of water or other liquid after each dose.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Magnesium Citrate if you have kidney disease, are on a limited magnesium or sodium diet, have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting or had sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Stop taking Magnesium Citrate and call your doctor if you have pain, swelling or bulging in your belly, rectal bleeding, or haven't had a bowel movement after taking.
  • For short-term use. Don't use it for more than one week.
  • 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 Magnesium CitrateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert