Bisacodyl & Colace

Bisacodyl and Colace are prescribed for short-term constipation relief. While Colace is a stool softener, Bisacodyl acts as a stimulant laxative by increasing peristalsis, or the wave-like contractions that propel food and feces through the intestinal tract. Both are typically prescribed to people who should avoid straining during bowel movements because of certain health problems like heart conditions or hemorrhoids.Bisacodyl is also utilized to empty the bowels before surgery or X-ray procedures using barium enemas.


Colace comes as a tablet, liquid, syrup or capsule to take by mouth. The liquid is dispensed with a dropper that measures out the appropriate dose. Bisacodyl comes as a suppository or as a tablet to take by mouth. Swallow capsules or tablets whole with or without food, but make sure to drink at least a full glass of water.


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The suggested dosage for children ages 6 to 12 who require Colace is 40 to 120 mg. For younger children, the recommended dosages are 20 to 60 mg for children aged 3 to 6, and less than 40 mg for children under 3. Adults and children over 12 can take anywhere from 50 to 360 mg of Colace. Bisacodyl should not be given to children under 10 years old, unless directed by a doctor.


Take Colace regularly for at least 1 to 3 days at bedtime to see an effect. You can mix the liquid and syrup with about 6 ounces of milk, juice or formula to mask the bitter taste and prevent throat irritation. Take a Bisacodyl tablet or insert a suppository the evening before a bowel movement is desired. Since these medications are for short-term relief only, consult a doctor if you feel you need to take these medications for more than 1 week.

Onset of Action

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You will experience a bowel movement in 6 to 8 hours after taking Bisacodyl tablets. Suppositories are much more effective, promoting defecation in 15 to 60 minutes. With Colace, you should have a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours. Some people may need to wait 4 or 5 days before seeing an effect.

Possible Side Effects

These medications can potentially lead to side effects, some of them severe. You may notice throat irritation and experience nausea, cramps, bloating, diarrhea or gas. If you have diarrhea, make sure to replace the lost fluids by drinking 2 to 3 quarts of liquid a day. If you experience a skin rash or hives, fever, fainting, severe stomach pain, vomiting, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, notify your doctor immediately.


Do not combine these medications with others, unless directed by your doctor. Also, avoid Colace if you are currently taking mineral oil and do not take Bisacodyl after drinking milk or taking antacids. Tell your doctor if you have stomach pain, nausea and vomiting, rectal bleeding, sudden bowel changes that have lasted more than two weeks, or a history of bowel obstruction, as well as if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or become pregnant while taking either of these medications. If you are over the age of 65, bisacodyl may not be as safe or effective as other medications. Finally, frequent use or high dosages may lead to dependence and a loss of normal bowel function.