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Softens things up.

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Over-the-counterLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

Colace (Docusate) takes longer to work that some alternatives, but it's a more comfortable way to relieve constipation.


  • 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.
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  • 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.

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What to expect when you take Colace (Docusate)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.
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Side effects for Colace (Docusate)

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These are side effects of Colace (Docusate) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

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Risks and Warnings for Colace (Docusate)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Age 60 or older
    • Taking medications that cause constipation
    • People who can't walk or move well (immobility)

    Don't use Colace (Docusate) for more than 1 week. Constipation is common in people who are on certain medications, aren't able to be active or can't move well, or don't drink enough water or other fluids. Older people are less sensitive to being thirsty, so they drink less, can get dehydrated and constipated. It’s always best to use Colace (Docusate) short-term. Better long term solutions may be stool softeners, bulk-forming fiber therapy, and osmotic medicines.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Colace (Docusate)

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The FDA category for this medication is N. It is advised that you: Unknown
  • Tips from our pharmacists
  • Talk to you doctor about eating certain foods and getting more exercise to help prevent your constipation.