Dulcolax : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?

Rectal Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) is used short-term to treat constipation. It is also used to empty the intestines before surgery and certain medical procedures. Dulcolax is in a class of medications called stimulant laxatives. It works by increasing the activity of the intestines to cause a bowel movement.

How should this medicine be used?

Rectal Dulcolax (Bisacodyl) comes as a suppository and enema to use rectally. It is usually used at the time a bowel movement is desired. Suppositories usually cause a bowel movement within 15 to 60 minutes and the enema within 5 to 20 minutes. Do not use Dulcolax more than once a day or for more than 1 week without consulting your doctor. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Use Dulcolax rectal exactly as directed. Frequent or continuous use of Dulcolax can make you dependent on laxatives and cause your intestines to lose their normal activity. If you do not have a regular bowel movement after using Dulcolax, do not use this medicine again and talk to your doctor.

If using a Dulcolax suppository, follow these steps:

  1. If the suppository is soft, keep it under cold water or place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden before removing the wrapper.
  2. Remove the packaging.
  3. If you were told to use half the suppository, cut it lengthwise with a sharp, clean knife or blade.
  4. Lie on your left side and lift your right knee toward your chest.
  5. Using your finger, insert the suppository, pointed end first, into the rectum until it passes through the rectus muscular sphincter, approximately 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in adults. If it is not inserted past this sphincter, the suppository may slip out.
  6. Keep it in place for as long as possible.
  7. Wash your hands well.

If using a Dulcolax enema, follow these steps:

  1. Shake the enema bottle well.
  2. Remove the protective shield from the tip.
  3. Lie on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest or kneel and lean forward so that your head and chest rest comfortably.
  4. Gently insert the enema bottle into the rectum with the tip pointing towards the navel.
  5. Squeeze the bottle gently until it is almost empty.
  6. Remove the enema bottle from the rectum. Keep the contents of the enema in place for as long as possible, up to 10 minutes.
  7. Wash your hands well.
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Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using rectal Dulcolax,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Dulcolax, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in these products. Check the label or ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, a sudden change in bowel movements lasting more than 2 weeks, anal fissures, or hemorrhoids.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using rectal Dulcolax, call your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medicine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should generally not use rectal Dulcolax because it is not as safe or effective as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

A regular diet and exercise program are important for regular bowel function. Follow a high fiber diet and drink plenty of fluids (eight glasses) every day as recommended by your doctor.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

This medication is usually used as needed. If your doctor has told you to use rectal Dulcolax regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for the one you forgot.

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What side effects can this medication cause?

Rectal Dulcolax may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • stomach cramps
  • faintness
  • stomach discomfort
  • burning in the rectum

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience this symptom, stop using Dulcolax and call your doctor immediately:

  • rectal bleeding

Rectal Dulcolax may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medicine in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure they cannot be consumed by pets, children, and others. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, since many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

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In case of emergency/overdose

If someone ingests Dulcolax rectal, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has passed out or is not breathing, call your local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about rectal Dulcolax.

It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • Bisac-Evac® Suppositories
  • Dulcolax Uniserts®
  • Dulcolax® Suppositories
  • Fleet® Dulcolax Enema

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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