Dulcolax Tablets provide gentle and effective relief from constipation, working predictably and reliably overnight. Dulcolax tablets have a special coating that helps to ensure the medicine works only where needed, gently stimulating the bowel and returning the body to its natural rhthym.
Dosage: For oral administration.
Adults and children over 10 year: Take one or two tablets at night, or as directed by your doctor. If you have not taken dulcolax before, start with one tablet and increase to two if necessary. Swallow tablets whole, with water.
Children under 10 years: consult your doctor.
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How do Dulcolax Tablets work?
Dulcolax tablets contain the active ingredient bisacodyl, which is a type of medicine called a stimulant laxative. (NB. Bisacodyl is also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.)
Bisacodyl works by stimulating the nerve endings in the walls of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This causes the muscles in the intestinal wall to contract more often and with increased force. When these muscles contract (a process known as peristalsis), this moves the contents of the intestine through the colon to the rectum so that the bowel can be emptied. This relieves constipation.
Dulcolax tablets have a special 'enteric coat' that is designed to prevent the tablets dissolving in the acidic environment of the stomach. Instead, the tablets pass through the stomach and dissolve when they reach the colon (large intestine). This releases the bisacodyl where it is needed to produce its effect on the intestinal wall. The tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed or broken, to avoid damaging this coating.
Dulcolax tablets start to work six to twelve hours after you take them. They should be taken at night to produce relief from constipation the following morning.
Bisacodyl tablets are also used to help empty the bowel before certain medical procedures. If this is the case, your doctor will ask you to take these tablets the night before the procedure, as well as using a bisacodyl suppository the morning of the procedure.
What are Dulcolax Tablets used for?
- Short-term relief of constipation.
- Emptying the bowel prior to surgery or radiological examinations (on the advice of a doctor).
- You should not take dulcolax tablets if you have severe abdominal pain together with feeling sick and vomiting, as this could indicate that you have a more serious condition that needs investigating.
- Dulcolax tablets should be swallowed whole and not chewed, crushed or broken, as this would damage their special enteric coating. The tablets should not be taken within an hour of taking indigestion remedies (antacids) or dairy products such as milk or yoghurt, as these alter the environment in the stomach and intestine and could make the tablet coating dissolve before it reaches the colon. This might give you stomach cramps.
- You should not use this medicine on a continuous basis for more than five days. If you find you need to take a laxative every day you should consult your doctor so that the cause of your constipation can be investigated.
- Prolonged, excessive use of laxatives can lead to chronic diarrhoea, low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalaemia) and an imbalance in the amount of fluid and salts (electrolytes) in your body, particularly if you are also taking diuretic or steroid medicines. This can cause kidney problems, amongst others. Prolonged, excessive use may also make your constipation worse in the long-term, as your gut can become reliant on the laxative.
Not to be used in
- Blockage of the gut (intestinal obstruction or ileus).
- Acute attacks of inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
- Sudden abdominal conditions requiring surgery, such as appendicitis.
- Severe dehydration.
- Children under 10 years of age, unless on the advice of a doctor. Dulcolax tablets are not recommended for children under four years of age.
- Rare hereditary problems of fructose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or sucrase-isomaltase insufficiency (Dulcolax tablets contain sucrose).
Dulcolax should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- Dulcolax is not known to be harmful if taken during pregnancy. However, as with all medicines, you should seek medical advice from your doctor before taking this medicine if you are pregnant, particularly if you are in your first trimester. Other methods of relieving constipation may be more suitable for you.
- Dulcolax is not known to pass into breast milk, however the manufacturer recommends that it is not used by women who are breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding you should seek medical advice from your doctor before using this medicine, as other methods of relieving constipation may be more suitable for you.
- Dulcolax tablets are to be swallowed whole, not chewed.
- Do not take indigestion remedies at the same time of day as this medication.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Abdominal pain or cramps.
- Allergic reactions (very rare).
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can dulcolax tablets affect other medicines?
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you take this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
You should not take these tablets at the same time as, or within an hour of taking indigestion remedies (antacids). This is because antacids reduce the acidity in the stomach and small intestine, which can allow the coating of the tablets to dissolve before they reach the colon. This would release the bisacodyl in the stomach and small intestine, which could cause stomach irritation or cramps.
Prolonged, excessive use of laxatives can lead to low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalaemia) and an imbalance in the amount of fluid and salts (electrolytes) in your body. This effect may be enhanced if you are also taking diuretic medicines, eg furosemide or bendroflumethiazide, or steroid medicines, eg prednisolone.