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Peri-Colace (Generic Stool Softeners)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Stool softeners are medications that are prescribed to help relieve constipation by making stools softer and easier to pass. They are commonly recommended for individuals who experience difficulty in passing stools due to factors such as dehydration, a low-fiber diet, certain medical conditions, or certain medications that can contribute to constipation.

How should this medicine be used?

The primary mechanism of action of stool softeners is to increase the water content of the stool, making it softer and easier to pass through the intestines. Stool softeners typically contain ingredients such as docusate sodium or docusate calcium.

Here are general guidelines for using stool softeners:

  • Follow Your Healthcare Provider’s Instructions: Always take stool softeners exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. The recommended dosage and frequency may vary based on your specific condition.
  • Take with Water: It’s important to take stool softeners with a full glass of water. This helps facilitate the softening of the stool by increasing hydration in the intestines.
  • Consistent Use: Stool softeners are often more effective when taken consistently. It may take a few days for the full effects to be noticeable, so be patient and continue taking the medication as directed.
  • Diet and Fluid Intake: In addition to taking stool softeners, it’s important to maintain a well-balanced diet with an adequate amount of fiber. Fiber can help prevent constipation by adding bulk to the stool. Drinking plenty of fluids is also crucial to maintain hydration.
  • Monitor Side Effects: Stool softeners are generally considered safe, but like any medication, they may have potential side effects. If you experience any adverse effects or if your symptoms persist, contact your healthcare provider.

It’s essential to note that while stool softeners are effective for some types of constipation, they may not be suitable for all individuals or situations. In some cases, lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, or other medications may be recommended. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication, including stool softeners.

Other uses for this medicine

Here are some potential alternative uses:

  • Post-Surgery or Childbirth: Stool softeners may be prescribed after certain types of surgery, such as abdominal or pelvic surgery, or after childbirth to make bowel movements more comfortable and reduce strain.
  • Hemorrhoids: Stool softeners can be recommended for individuals with hemorrhoids to prevent straining during bowel movements, which can exacerbate hemorrhoidal symptoms.
  • Anal Fissures: People with anal fissures, which are small tears in the lining of the anus, may be advised to use stool softeners to make bowel movements less painful.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions to consider when using stool softeners include:

  • Individualized Dosage: Stool softeners should be taken as prescribed by a healthcare provider. The dosage may vary depending on the individual’s medical condition and response to the medication.
  • Hydration: It’s crucial to drink an adequate amount of fluids when taking stool softeners. This helps prevent dehydration and supports the softening of stools. Without sufficient fluid intake, stool softeners may be less effective.
  • Monitoring for Side Effects: While stool softeners are generally considered safe, some individuals may experience side effects such as abdominal cramping or diarrhea. If these side effects are severe or persistent, it’s important to contact a healthcare provider.
  • Underlying Causes: Stool softeners are a symptomatic treatment for constipation and related issues. It’s important to address and manage any underlying causes of constipation, such as dietary factors or medical conditions, with the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  • Interaction with Other Medications: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements. Stool softeners can interact with certain medications, and your healthcare provider can help ensure that the combination is safe.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your healthcare provider before using stool softeners to ensure they are safe for you and your baby.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations and guidelines when using stool softeners or any medication. If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional for clarification and guidance.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Regarding special dietary instructions:

  • Fiber Intake: While taking stool softeners, it’s beneficial to maintain a diet that includes an adequate amount of fiber. Fiber adds bulk to the stool and complements the softening effect of the medication.
  • Fluid Intake: In addition to dietary fiber, ensure you drink enough fluids, especially water. This helps prevent dehydration and supports the softening of stools.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget a dose of stool softeners:

  • Take it as Soon as Possible: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Do Not Double Dose: Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. Taking too much of the medication at once can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Consult Your Healthcare Provider: If you have questions about missed doses or if you are unsure about what to do, contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Stool softeners are generally considered safe for most people when used as directed under the guidance of a healthcare provider. However, like any medication, they can potentially cause side effects. Common side effects associated with stool softeners, particularly those containing docusate sodium or docusate calcium, may include:

  • Diarrhea: Stool softeners can increase the water content in the stool, potentially leading to loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Abdominal Cramping: Some individuals may experience mild abdominal cramping or discomfort.
  • Nausea: Occasionally, users may report feelings of nausea.
  • Throat Irritation: Stool softeners in liquid form may cause irritation to the throat.
  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Prolonged or excessive use of stool softeners, especially those containing mineral oil, may lead to an imbalance in electrolytes.

It’s important to note that severe side effects are relatively rare with stool softeners. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Signs of dehydration (e.g., excessive thirst, dry mouth, reduced urine output)

Additionally, individuals with specific health conditions or those taking other medications should consult their healthcare provider before using stool softeners, as interactions may occur.

If you have concerns about the side effects of stool softeners or if you experience any unusual or severe symptoms, it’s crucial to contact your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on whether adjustments to your treatment plan are necessary or recommend alternative solutions. Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and inform them of any changes or concerns regarding your medication.

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

Storage and Disposal of stool softeners:


  • Follow Instructions: Store stool softeners according to the instructions provided on the medication packaging. Different formulations may have specific storage requirements.
  • Room Temperature: In general, most medications, including stool softeners, should be stored at room temperature, away from excessive heat or moisture.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: Store medications in a location that is out of reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Avoid Bathroom Storage: While bathrooms are convenient, they can expose medications to moisture and heat. It’s generally recommended to store medications in a cool, dry place.


  • Check Expiration Date: Dispose of stool softeners that have passed their expiration date. Expired medications may not be as effective and could potentially be harmful.
  • Follow Local Guidelines: Dispose of medications following local guidelines. Many communities have drug take-back programs or specific instructions for safe disposal. Do not flush medications down the toilet unless instructed to do so.
  • Remove Personal Information: Before disposing of medication packaging, remove any personal information to protect your privacy.

In case of emergency/overdose

  • Seek Medical Attention: If you suspect an overdose or experience severe adverse effects, seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services.
  • Contact Poison Control: In case of overdose or accidental ingestion, contact your local poison control center for guidance. In the United States, the Poison Help hotline is 1-800-222-1222.
  • Provide Information: Be prepared to provide information about the specific stool softener, the amount ingested, and any symptoms experienced.

What other information should I know?

  • Consult Healthcare Provider: Always consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about your medication, its usage, or if you experience any unexpected side effects.
  • Medication Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider about all medications, including over-the-counter and herbal supplements, to avoid potential interactions.
  • Allergies: If you have known allergies to certain medications or substances, make sure to inform your healthcare provider.
  • Follow Instructions: Adhere to the prescribed dosage and usage instructions provided by your healthcare provider. Do not self-adjust the dosage without consulting them.
  • Regular Follow-up: If you are on long-term medication, schedule regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your condition and adjust the treatment plan if needed.

Always consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for specific information related to your stool softener medication and follow their advice for safe use and storage.

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