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DOSS (Generic Stool Softeners)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Those who should refrain from straining during bowel movements due to heart diseases, haemorrhoids, and other issues take stool softeners on an as-needed basis to treat constipation. They function by making stools softer so that they are simpler to pass.

How should this medicine be used?

Stool softeners are available as syrup, liquid, capsules, and tablets for oral consumption. Often, a stool softener is given before night. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions you do not understand, and carefully follow any instructions on the packaging or the label of your prescription. Follow the directions on your stool softener carefully. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Do not break, chew, or crush the docusate capsules; instead, swallow them whole.

Use a full glass of water when taking capsules and tablets. To measure the dose, the liquid is supplied with a dropper that is carefully labelled. If you are having trouble using it, ask your pharmacist to walk you through it. To hide its bitter flavour, combine the liquid (not the syrup) with 4 ounces (120 millilitres) of milk, fruit juice, or formula.

It often takes this medication one to three days of consistent use to start working. Stool softeners should not be taken for longer than a week unless your doctor instructs you to. Call your doctor if your bowel habits suddenly change for more than two weeks or if they don’t improve after taking this medication for a week.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking stool softeners,

  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you have any allergies to any medications, including stool softeners, other drugs, or any of the chemicals in those drugs. Get a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your physician and pharmacist about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Don’t forget to bring up mineral oil. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • Inform your physician if you are nursing a baby, intend to get pregnant, or are already pregnant. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking stool softeners.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Usually, this drug is consumed as necessary. Take the missed dose right away if your doctor has prescribed stool softeners on a regular basis. Skip the missed dose and carry on with your regular dosing plan, nevertheless, if it is almost time for the subsequent dose. Never take two doses at once to make up for missing ones.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from stool softeners are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Abdominal or gastrointestinal pain
  • Nausea
  • Throat discomfort (from oral liquid)

Certain adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Skin rash (hives)
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

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

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

Although many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medications website at for additional information.

What other information should I know?

If you have any concerns about using this medication, ask your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Colace®
  • Correctol Soft Gels®
  • Diocto®
  • Ex-Lax Stool Softener®
  • Fleet Sof-Lax®
  • Phillips’ Liqui-Gels®
  • Surfak®
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