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Dioctyl (Docusate Sodium)

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Dioctyl is a laxative, used to treat constipation. It works by allowing water and fats into your stool, softening it so it can be passed more easily.
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Dioctyl (Docusate Sodium)

What is Dioctyl/Docusate Sodium?

Docusate Sodium is a laxative. It is used to treat occasional constipation. Constipation is when a person has difficulty passing faeces. Docusate Sodium will help to soften the faeces and will make it easier to pass a bowel movement.

Docusate Sodium can also be used to help you if you are having difficulty because of piles or haemorrhoids or an anal fissure.

Docusate Sodium comes as capsules for oral administration. It is available from your GP on prescription only. Alternatively, we can prescribe it to you after a brief online consultation. Docusate Sodium is available under several brand names, such as Dulcoease and Dioctyl.

For more information about Docusate Sodium, consult the patient information leaflet here.

How it works

Docusate Sodium is part of a group of medications called stool softeners. Stool softeners like Docusate Sodium relieve the effects of constipation by making your faeces softer. It works by allowing water and fats to get into the stool, making it softer and easier to pass. Stool softeners such as Docusate Sodium and polyethylene glycol are usually the first medications prescribed to treat constipation.

Docusate Sodium is available as a 100 mg capsule. It will usually take one or two days to work. Alternatively it’s available as an enema, which can begin working in around 20 minutes.

Before you take it

Docusate Sodium contains fructose, which is a sugar that some people may be allergic to. Fructose is found in fruit juice as well as soft drinks. If you are allergic to fructose, Docusate Sodium may be unsuitable for you, and you should speak with your doctor before taking this medicine.

Before taking Docusate Sodium, you should attempt to improve your symptoms naturally, by drinking plenty of water and switching to a high fibre diet. It may meant that you experience relief from constipation without having to take any medication.

You should not use this medication if you are experiencing stomach pains or have vomited within the last 24 hours.

If you have certain medical conditions that affect your bowel, such as an intestinal obstruction, Docusate Sodium may be unsuitable for you to take. You should discuss with your doctor or pharmacist a more appropriate method to treat your constipation.

Docusate Sodium should not be given to children unless their doctor has prescribed it. It must never be given to children under 12 years old.

You should check with your doctor if you are taking a mineral oil laxative, such as liquid paraffin. You should not take more than one type of laxative at a time.

If you have regular or constant stomach pain, you should consult your doctor. If your constipation is severe, you may need to take a laxative every day. If this is the case, your doctor will advise you.

Docusate Sodium should not cause any adverse effects to your unborn baby during pregnancy, and is considered safe to take. It is also suitable for breastfeeding women.

If you are allergic to Docusate Sodium or any of the active ingredients, you should speak with your doctor to discuss an alternative medication.

This is not an exhaustive list of warnings or other drugs that may react with Docusate Sodium. For further information on Docusate Sodium, consult the patient information leaflet.

Dosage Instructions

You should always take Docusate Sodium as prescribed exactly by your doctor. Never exceed the stated dose. Do not take this medication without consulting your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of your required dose.

A typical dose is three capsules of Docusate Sodium 100 mg daily in divided doses. Never take more than five capsules per day. You should take one capsule in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.

You should reduce the dose as it begins to relieve your symptoms. If you do not do this, you may experience diarrhoea or abdominal pain. If it does not relieve your symptoms, consult your doctor before increasing the amount that you take.

Sometimes Docusate Sodium is prescribed before a stomach x-ray. If this is the case, your doctor will advise you how many and when to take your capsules.

Docusate Sodium capsules should be swallowed with plenty of water. Do not suck, crush or chew on them.

Store Docusate Sodium in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of pets and children.

Common Side Effects of Docusate Sodium

Docusate Sodium can cause side effects. These effects are typically mild to moderate in nature, and will go away on their own. As Docusate Sodium is for occasional constipation, you should not usually take it for more than a few days, so when you stop taking it these side effects should go away. Known side effects can include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Stomach pain

If you experience more serious side effects, such as rectal bleeding or blood in your stools, you must immediately consult your doctor.

It’s also possible for you to experience a severe allergic reaction when taking this medication. This is very rare, but any allergic reaction is an emergency, so if you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction, you must immediately seek medical help. Symptoms include:

  • Skin rash, including redness, blistering, itching, peeling
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness of the chest or throat

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, and you should consult the patient information leaflet for a full list.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Docusate Sodium suitable for children?

Docusate Sodium is sometimes prescribed to treat symptoms of constipation in children 12 years of age and older. It should not be taken by anyone under 12 years. However, we do not prescribe any medication to anyone under the age of 18.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Docusate Sodium?

Yes. Docusate Sodium is suitable to take during pregnancy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Missing a dose of Docusate Sodium is no cause for concern. Simply take it as soon as you remember. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.

What happens if I take too much?

An overdose of Docusate Sodium is unlikely to cause any adverse health problems, however it may cause mild unwanted side effects such as diarrhoea and stomach pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms, and they persist or become severe, contact your doctor or go to your local hospital.

More Information
Dosage Instructions Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.