Compare Miralax vs. Colace

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

Miralax
(Polyethylene Glycol)

Colace
(Docusate)

Helps get things moving. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) provides effective relief of constipation without "cramping" your style.Softens things up. Colace (Docusate) takes longer to work that some alternatives, but it's a more comfortable way to relieve constipation.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.427272727272728Miralax
Reviews for Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol)
74%
of people say Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) is worth it
54%
say it works well
10%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Colace (Docusate)
66%
8% vs. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol)
49%
5% vs. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol)
13%
3% vs. Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol)
Side effects
MiralaxColace

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

More about Miralax side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Colace »
How it works
MiralaxColace
Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) is an osmotic laxative. It uses osmosis to keep more water in your intestine, which softens your stool and makes it easier to pass.Colace (Docusate) is a stool softener. It allows both fats and water into stool, which softens it and makes it easier to pass.
Type of medication
MiralaxColace
Laxative
Osmotic
Over-the-counter
Laxative
Stool softener
Over-the-counter
Available as
MiralaxColace
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
MiralaxColace
Risk factors for serious side effects
MiralaxColace
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
  • Women of childbearing age
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
Detailed Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol) risks & warnings »
  • Age 60 or older
  • Taking medications that cause constipation
  • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)
  • Age 60 or older
  • Malignancy
  • Other condition that causes blockage or narrowing of bowel
  • Taking with medications that cause electrolyte imbalance
  • Age 60 or older
Detailed Colace (Docusate) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
MiralaxColace
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
  • Ask your doctor before you take Miralax if you have nausea or vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disease, or sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
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
MiralaxColace
  • Miralax is the most recommended laxative by pharmacists and doctors.
  • Most people felt it was worth the hassle.
  • It's gluten and sugar free.
  • It causes little to no cramping, bloating, gas, or feelings like you "have to go right now" compared to some other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Works differently than other over-the-counter laxatives so it's a great alternative if other medicines haven't worked.
  • Colace is a gentle, non-irritating, non-stimulant constipation reliever.
  • It doesn't cause cramping or the uncomfortable feeling that you "have to go right now".
  • Most people feel Colace is worth the hassle.
  • It's safe to use short-term during pregnancy and if you're breast-feeding, but you should still check with your baby doctor first.
  • Colace is used to prevent straining in people who recently had a heart attack.
  • It's a good choice after surgery, giving birth, or when you have hemorrhoids.
Downsides and risks
MiralaxColace
  • You have to dissolve Miralax in a beverage and drink it versus taking a pill.
  • It's not for children 16 years or younger.
  • Miralax doesn't work overnight. It can take up to 2-4 days to have a bowel movement.
  • It's not recommended that you take it for more than a week, so it you haven't had any success, you'll need to call your doctor for other laxative options.
  • May take up to 12 to 72 hours to take effect.
  • People who are older have medical conditions and take a lot of medicines may need more than 200 mg a day to get results.
  • It may be weaker than alternatives since it isn't a laxative. Studies show that stool softeners like Colace may be less effective than psyllium when it comes to treating constipation.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
MiralaxColace
  • Dissolve Miralax powder in 4 to 8 ounces of water, juice or other drink (cold or hot) once a day.
  • Works in about 1 to 3 days. Don't use for more than 1 week.
  • Miralax is available in four different size dose bottles. It also come in pre-measured single-dose packets to make dosing easier or if you travel.
  • Ask your doctor about giving it to anyone younger than 17 years.
  • Doesn't cause as much bloating, cramping or feelings like you "have to go right now" as other medicines to treat constipation.
  • Ask your doctor before you take Miralax if you have nausea or vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney disease, or sudden changes in your stool for more than 2 weeks.
  • Stop using Miralax and call your doctor if you have pain, cramping, swelling or bulging in your belly, diarrhea, rectal bleeding or find you need to use for more than 1 week.
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.
  • It's best to take daily doses at bedtime or you can take it twice a day, but not for more than one week. Works in about 12-72 hours.
  • Ask your doctor about giving Colace to anyone younger than 2 years.
  • Don't use if you're taking mineral oil for constipation. Ask your doctor first.
  • Ask your doctor before taking Colace 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 MiralaxSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about ColaceSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert