DOCUSATE (pronounced “doc-CUE-sayt”) is used to prevent and address occasional constipation. Its mechanism involves stool softening, which facilitates easier bowel movements. It falls under the category of drugs known as laxatives.

This medication might have alternative applications; consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you need clarification.

COMMON BRAND NAMES: Colace, Diocto, Doc-Q-Lace, Docu Liquid, Fleet, Silace

What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They should be informed if you have any of these conditions:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Sudden change in bowel habits lasting more than 2 weeks
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to docusate, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnancy or attempting to become pregnant
  • Breastfeeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication orally as directed on the label. Shake it well before use. Mix the prescribed dose in 6 to 8 ounces of milk, fruit juice, or infant formula before taking it to minimize throat irritation. Use a designated spoon or measuring container to ensure accuracy; ask your pharmacist for one if needed, as household spoons are not precise. Do not exceed the recommended dosage frequency.

Discuss with your healthcare team the appropriateness of this medication for children. While it may be prescribed for children as young as 2 years for certain conditions, precautions are necessary.

In case of an overdose, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately.

IMPORTANT: This medication is for your use only. Do not share it with others.

Read Also: Drug interaction duloxitine and aleve

Pros and Cons of docusate


  • Effective Stool Softener
  • Non-Stimulant Laxative
  • No Habit-Forming Potential
  • Minimal Side Effects


  • Slow Onset
  • Limited Efficacy for Severe Constipation
  • Not a Complete Treatment for Constipation
  • Potential for Overuse

Differences Between docusate and diphenhydramine


Docusate is a stool softener commonly used to treat constipation by softening stool and making bowel movements easier.


Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine primarily used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as itching, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. It is also used as a sleep aid due to its sedative properties.

Alternative to docusate

Osmotic Laxatives:

Osmotic laxatives like polyethylene glycol (Miralax) and lactulose (Enulose) are effective in treating constipation. They work by drawing water into the intestines, softening the stool, and making it easier to pass.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, just take that one. Avoid taking double doses or extra doses to make up for the missed one.

What should I watch for while using this medication?

Do not use this medication for more than one week without consulting your healthcare team. If your constipation recurs, seek advice from your healthcare provider.

Ensure you drink an adequate amount of water while using this medication, as it helps alleviate constipation.

Discontinue use of this medication and reach out to your healthcare provider if you encounter rectal bleeding or do not experience a bowel movement after taking it. These symptoms could indicate a more serious condition.

Can I use docusate sodium while breastfeeding?

Although some docusate sodium is absorbed by the mother, the quantity that transfers into breast milk is minimal. No issues have been reported in breastfed babies when the mother is taking docusate sodium. It’s crucial to discuss all medications you’re using and your breastfeeding choices with your healthcare provider and the baby’s pediatrician.

What are the dangers of taking too much docusate sodium?

When used within recommended dosages, docusate sodium is generally safe during pregnancy. However, excessive use can lead to decreased magnesium levels in the blood. There is a single reported case of low magnesium levels in a newborn associated with the mother’s overuse of docusate sodium. The baby exhibited jitteriness as the main symptom, which resolved by the second day of life. No issues have been reported with the use of docusate sodium at recommended levels during pregnancy.

Can use of docusate sodium during pregnancy cause birth defects?

There is limited research on the potential risks of docusate sodium during pregnancy. Nonetheless, the existing studies indicate that when used within recommended dosages, docusate sodium is not anticipated to raise the risk of birth defects.

How long does Colace® take to work?

Docusate (Colace®) oral solution typically takes 12 to 72 hours to move through your digestive system and have an impact on your stool in the colon. It functions similarly to soap by dissolving water and fats in your stool, thereby softening it. This type of laxative doesn’t directly prompt bowel movements but does make passing stool easier.

Can you take Colace® stool softener daily?

You can use docusate (Colace®) on a daily basis for up to a week. If you find that you need to continue taking it beyond that timeframe, it’s advisable to reach out to a healthcare provider. While stool softeners like docusate can address occasional constipation, your provider may suggest alternative approaches for managing persistent or chronic constipation.

Is Colace® safe to take during pregnancy?

Colace® is generally considered safe for both you and the fetus during pregnancy. However, it’s intended as a temporary solution, and constipation can persist throughout pregnancy. If you experience regular constipation during pregnancy, discuss long-term treatment options with your healthcare provider.

stool softeners such as docusate (Colace®) can be beneficial for occasional constipation, particularly when you need to avoid straining during bowel movements due to conditions like hemorrhoids or fissures in the anal canal, which can cause pain or difficulty during defecation.


Docusate sodium, commonly sold under the brand name Colace®, is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. However, it’s crucial to follow the recommended dosage and duration as advised by your healthcare provider. If you have any concerns or experience persistent constipation, it’s essential to discuss your options with your healthcare team for personalized guidance and long-term management strategies.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional treatment or diagnosis. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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