What are the Different Docusate Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2020
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Docusate is a medication commonly used as a laxative or a stool softener, and often prescribed to patients who are having trouble with constipation. Although many users experience no side effects whatsoever, some side effects may occur in a few people. Docusate side effects are usually very mild, and usually don't interfere with normal everyday activities, but in very rare cases, docusate side effects can be severe and, possibly, dangerous. Mild docusate side effects include digestion, and taste problems, as well as irritation of the throat or anus. More severe docusate side effects include stomach pain and vomiting, and allergic reactions.

Nausea is one of the most common docusate side effects. It is often very mild. To avoid this, many doctors recommend that patients take the medication with a snack or a small meal. Drinking full glasses of water while taking docusate can also help eliminate side effects of this medicine. Diarrhea and gas are other common side effects of docusate.

Some docusate users may also experience a bitter taste in their mouths. Although this is usually associated with an oral suspension or a syrup, it can also happen when taking pills. Throat irritation or a sore throat can also occur, especially with docusate syrups, and this can also make it difficult to swallow.


Docusate enemas are inserted into the rectum through the anus. This method of insertion can cause a patient's anus to become irritated. The same side effects of oral docusate also can occur with this method.

Very rarely, some patients will experience serious side effects. Patients should call their doctors if the begin to experience severe stomach cramps and vomiting after taking docusate. They should also inform their doctors if they have not had a bowel movement within a certain period of time. With oral docusate, a bowel movement should occur within three days, and with rectal docusate, a bowel movement should occur within 20 minutes.

Immediate medical attention should be sought if rectal bleeding occurs. Although this is extremely rare, it should be considered very serious. An allergic reaction to docusate is also very rare, and it should be considered just as serious.

For a small percentage of people who take it, an allergic reaction is another one of the docusate side effects. Many times, an allergic reaction to any medication can be quite serious, and a patient should stop taking this medication and inform his doctor immediately if he experiences any signs of an allergic reaction. These signs can include itchy skin rashes, often known as hives, and facial swelling, including the lips and throat.



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