Why is this medication prescribed?
Rectal bisacodyl is used on a short-term basis to treat constipation. It also is used to empty the bowels before surgery and certain medical procedures. Bisacodyl is in a class of medications called stimulant laxatives. It works by increasing activity of the intestines to cause a bowel movement.
How should this medicine be used?
Rectal bisacodyl comes as a suppository and enema to use rectally. It is usually used at the time that a bowel movement is desired. The suppositories usually cause a bowel movement within 15 to 60 minutes and the enema within 5 to 20 minutes. Do not use bisacodyl more than once a day or for more than 1 week without talking to your doctor. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use rectal bisacodyl exactly as directed. Frequent or continued use of bisacodyl may make you dependent on laxatives and cause your bowels to lose their normal activity. If you do not have a regular bowel movement after using bisacodyl, do not use this medication again and talk to your doctor.
If using a bisacodyl suppository, follow these steps:
- If the suppository is soft, hold it under cool water or place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to harden it before removing the wrapper.
- Remove the wrapper.
- If you were told to use half of the suppository, cut it lengthwise with a clean, sharp knife or blade.
- Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest.
- Using your finger, insert the suppository, pointed end first, into your rectum until it passes the muscular sphincter of the rectum, about 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in adults. If not inserted past this sphincter, the suppository may pop out.
- Hold it in place for as long as possible.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
If using a bisacodyl enema, follow these steps:
- Shake the enema bottle well.
- Remove the protective shield from the tip.
- Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest or kneel and lean forward so that your head and chest are resting comfortably.
- Gently insert the enema bottle into the rectum with the tip pointing toward the navel.
- Squeeze the bottle gently until the bottle is nearly empty.
- Remove the enema bottle from the rectum. Hold the enema contents in place as long as possible, for up to 10 minutes.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
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 bisacodyl,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bisacodyl, 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 carefully 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 breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using rectal bisacodyl, call your doctor.
- Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually use rectal bisacodyl 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 is important for regular bowel function. Eat a high-fiber diet and drink plenty of liquids (eight glasses) each 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 bisacodyl regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. 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 a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Rectal bisacodyl may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- Stomach cramps
- Stomach discomfort
- Burning in the rectum
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience this symptom, stop using bisacodyl and call your doctor immediately:
- Rectal bleeding
Rectal bisacodyl may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (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 medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines 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 medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
If someone swallows rectal bisacodyl, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about rectal bisacodyl.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
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