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.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 Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Senna
58%
+32% better vs. Magnesium Citrate
35%
+55% better vs. Magnesium Citrate
10%
+10% better vs. Magnesium Citrate
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Magnesium CitrateSenna

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

FDA side effect reports for Magnesium Citrate »

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

More about Senna side effects »
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 laxative. It causes contractions in your intestine muscles to push stool through. It also makes stool more watery.
Type of medication
Magnesium CitrateSenna
Prescription or OTCOver-the-counter
Available as
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
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
Detailed Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate) 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

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.

Food
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • 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 kidneys and liver related info.
Pain
Magnesium CitrateSenna
  • 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.
No pain 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.
  • 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
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.
  • 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
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.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • For short-term use. Don't use it for more than one week.
  • 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 Magnesium CitrateSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Citrate Of Magnesia (magnesium citrate)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SennaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Senokot (senna)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it