Healthy Living

What Is Bisacodyl Used For?

What Is Bisacodyl Used For?

Generic Name: Bisacodyl

Brand Name: Dulcolax, Correctol

Bisacodyl is a type of medication used for the short-term treatment of constipation. It can also be used as a laxative to empty the bowels before a patient undergoes surgery and other types of medical procedures. It is a stimulant laxative that works by increasing intestinal activity to induce bowel movements. 

Usage

This medication is taken by mouth. Follow all the instructions on the product label if you are self-treating. You can also ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure about any of the product's information. 

This medication should also be swallowed whole. The tablet should not be crushed, cut, broken, or chewed. Do not take this medication within an hour of consuming milk, other dairy products, or antacids to avoid destroying the tablet's coating and cause nausea and stomach upset. 

The dosage of this medication is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. This medication should not be used for more than seven days unless otherwise instructed by your healthcare provider. Moreover, the dosage should not be increased or used more often than recommended to avoid having serious side effects. 

Bowel movement may be expected within 6-12 hours of taking this medication. If you are still constipated or if you experience bleeding from the rectum even after taking this medication, consult a doctor immediately. 

Precautions

Bisacodyl may contain ingredients, which can cause certain allergic reactions or other problems. For this reason, it is very important to inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have certain allergies or if you are allergic to this product. 

Before using bisacodyl, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist regarding your medical history, particularly if you have had appendicitis or its symptoms, which include acute and unexplained abdominal or stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting, changes in bowel movements for more than two weeks, rectal bleeding, or an intestinal blockage. 

If you are scheduled for a surgical procedure, inform your doctor or dentist regarding all the products you currently use, which include both prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and supplements (dietary and herbal). 

Using this medication for a long period of time during pregnancy is not usually recommended. Make sure to inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant before taking this medication. It is also unknown whether this medication passes into human breast milk. Consult your doctor if it is safe to take this medication while breastfeeding. 

Side Effects

There are many people who use this medication without experiencing serious side effects. However, if side effects occur, they are usually mild. The side effects of this medication may include nausea, cramping, weakness, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these side effects tend to persist or worsen. 

Other serious side effects of this medication may include:

This medication rarely causes serious allergic reactions. However, if you experience any symptoms of serious allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, swelling of the face, throat, or tongue, itching, or rash, seek medical help right away. 

Dosage

For bowel preparation in adults

  • Tablet: 1-3 tablets (5 to 15 mg) taken orally once per day (as needed)
  • Suppository: 10 mg suppository rectally once per day (as needed)
  • Rectal liquid: 10 mg rectal liquid once per day (as needed)

For constipation in adults

  • Tablet: 1-3 tablets or (5 to 15 mg) taken orally once per day (as needed)
  • Suppository: 10 mg suppository rectally once per day (as needed)
  • Rectal liquid: 10 mg rectal liquid once per day (as needed)

Constipation can be relieved within 6 hours when this medication is taken during waking hours and within 8-12 hours if it is taken before bedtime. 

Drug Interactions

When some medications, supplements, or herbal products are taken at the same time, the effects of certain drugs can change along with an increased risk of developing serious side effects. Although drug interactions can happen, they do not always occur.

Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help manage or prevent these interactions. For this reason, it is very important to inform your doctor or pharmacist regarding all the products you use, which include both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products before using this medication. It is also important not to change the recommended dosage of this medication unless otherwise approved by your healthcare provider. 

Other products that may interact with bisacodyl include medications that help reduce the production of stomach acid, such as proton pump inhibitors (omeprazole) and H2 blockers (ranitidine). 

Other medications that have mild to moderate interaction with bisacodyl are:

  • Linaclotide
  • Albuterol, albuterol/ipratropium
  • Amoxicillin, clarithromycin, lansoprazole
  • Azithromycin, azithromycin/trovafloxacin
  • Betamethasone
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Calcium/vitamin D
  • Chlorothiazide
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Citalopram
  • Clarithromycin
  • Dexamethasone
  • Ephedrine/hydroxyzine/theophylline
  • Erythromycin
  • Escitalopram
  • Fluconazole
  • Furosemide
  • Haloperidol
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Ketoconazole
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lopinavir/ritonavir
  • Magnesium hydroxide

The classification of drug interactions stated above only serves as a general guideline since specific drug interactions on each person can be difficult to determine due to a large number of variables. 

Missed Dose

Bisacodyl is a medication that can be used only as needed. However, if your healthcare provider advised you to regularly take this medication, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is already time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and follow the regular schedule of the dose. Do not make up for the missed dose by taking a double dose. 

Storage and Disposal

This medication should be kept in a tightly closed container and out of children's reach. Store this medication at room temperature and away from moisture and heat. 

Unused medications must be properly disposed to make sure that children, pets, and other people cannot use or consume them. Do not flush unused medications down the toilet. You can properly dispose of them through a drug take-back program. Ask your pharmacist or local recycling/garbage department to know more about these programs in your community. 

If you do not have access to drug take-back programs, you can go to the FDA's website for more information about the safe disposal of medicines

Special Dietary Instructions to Follow

Along with using this medication, consuming a healthy diet and regular exercise also contribute to regular bowel movements. Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids and include fiber-rich foods in your diet as well.  

Key Takeaways

  • Bisacodyl is a medication used for the short-term treatment of constipation.
  • It can also be used as a laxative to empty the bowels before a patient undergoes surgery and other types of medical procedures.
  • It is a stimulant laxative that works by increasing intestinal activity to induce bowel movements.