Dulcolax belongs to a group of medicines called stimulant laxatives, and is used to relieve constipation. It is available in two formulations: Tablets, which are to be swallowed whole, and an oral suspension which is “Tutti frutti” flavoured. You can buy Dulcolax tablets and liquid over the counter without a prescription.
Before considering taking laxatives to relieve your constipation, you should make appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle. Such changes may include:
- Eating more fibre-rich foods
- Drinking plenty of water
- Regularly exercising
- Going to the toilet at regular intervals
While constipation can be caused by medicines, it’s important to speak to your doctor if you suspect that a medicine is to blame. You should never stop taking a medicine prescribed by your doctor without explicit consent from them first.
If you still experience constipation after making changes to your diet or lifestyle, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist for advice. A healthcare professional can discuss the various treatments available and determine which treatments are safe for you.
Dulcolax tablets contain 5mg of bisacodyl while Dulcolax Pico Liquid contains 5mg of sodium picosulfate.
These ingredients work in a similar way once they reach the intestines.
In the gut, Dulcolax stimulates the nerve endings in the walls of the large intestine and rectum, causing the muscles in the intestinal walls to contract more often and with more force. The action of the muscles contracting – known as peristalsis – pushes faecal matter through the colon towards the rectum, emptying the bowels and relieving constipation.
After taking Dulcolax, you should expect a bowel movement between 8 and 12 hours for Pico Liquid, and between 12 and 72 hours for tablets.
Dulcolax Pico Liquid takes six to twelve hours to start work so should be taken at night to give relief from constipation the following morning.
Always take Dulcolax as described in the leaflet or as the doctor or pharmacist has told you.
Dulcolax is not recommended for use in children or adolescents under 18 years of age.
Stop taking Dulcolax once your bowel regularity has returned to normal.
Dulcolax should not be taken for more than 5 consecutive days. If you need laxatives every day, you should consult a doctor to find the cause of constipation.
How to take Dulcolax tablets
You should start by taking 1 tablet before bed. This dose can be increased to 2 tablets before bed, if necessary.
Dulcolax tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.
Do not crush or chew the tablets.
Milk, antacids and proton pump inhibitors should not be taken within an hour before or after taking Dulcolax tablets.
How to take Dulcolax Pico Liquid
The initial recommended dose of Dulcolax Pico Liquid is one 5 ml spoonfuls before bed. This dose can be increased to two 5ml spoonfuls before bed, if required.
What should I do if I forget to take Dulcolax when I should?
If you forget to take Dulcolax when you should, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for next dose, leave the forgotten dose and take Dulcolax at the next usual time. Do not take more Dulcolax to make up for the dose you missed.
What should I do if I take too much Dulcolax?
Taking more Dulcolax can lead to dehydration, imbalance of fluids and salts in the body resulting in the tightness of muscles. It can even make you tired and dizzy due to low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalaemia).
If you have mistakenly taken more Dulcolax than you should, inform your doctor or speak to a pharmacist right away. Take the medicine pack with you that helps the doctor to know what you have taken.