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Pharmacologic class: Emollient
Therapeutic class: Stool softener, surfactant
Pregnancy risk category C
Increases absorption of liquid into stool, resulting in softening of fecal mass. Also promotes electrolyte and water secretion into colon.
Capsules: 240 mg
Capsules (soft gels): 240 mg
Rectal solution: 283 mg/5 ml
Capsules: 50 mg, 100 mg, 250 mg
Capsules (soft gels): 100 mg, 250 mg
Liquid: 150 mg/15 ml
Syrup: 50 mg/15 ml, 60 mg/15 ml, 20 mg/5 ml, 100 mg/30 ml, 150 mg/15 ml
Tablets: 100 mg
Indications and dosages
➣ Stool softener
Adults and children older than age 12: 240 mg (docusate calcium) or 50 to 200 mg (docusate sodium) P.O. daily until bowel movements are normal
Children ages 6 to 12: 40 to 120 mg (docusate sodium) P.O. daily
Children ages 3 to 6: 20 to 60 mg (docusate sodium) P.O. daily
• Hypersensitivity to drug
• Abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
• Intestinal obstruction
Use cautiously in:
• pregnant or breastfeeding patients.
• Give tablets and capsules with full glass of water.
• Give liquid solution with milk or fruit juice.
• Be aware that excessive or long-term use may lead to laxative dependence.
EENT: throat irritation
GI: nausea, diarrhea, mild cramps
Other: bitter taste, decreased appetite, laxative dependence
Drug-drug. Mineral oil: increased mineral oil absorption, causing toxicity
Warfarin: decreased warfarin effects (with high doses)
• If diarrhea occurs, withhold drug and notify prescriber.
• Know that therapeutic efficacy usually becomes apparent 1 to 3 days after first dose.
• Instruct patient to drink sufficient fluids with each dose and to increase fluid intake during the day.
• Advise patient to prevent constipation by increasing fluids and consuming more dietary fiber (as in fruits and bran).
• Inform patient that excessive or prolonged use may lead to laxative dependence.
• As appropriate, review all other significant adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs mentioned above.
docusate sodium/senna(dok-yoo-sate soe-dee-um sen-na ) ,
Senna Plus(trade name),
Pharmacologic: stimulant laxatives
Time/action profile (softening of stool)
Adverse Reactions/Side Effects
Fluid and Electrolyte
- electrolyte imbalances
- abdominal cramps
- urine discoloration
Drug-Drug interactionNone significant.
- Assess for abdominal distention, presence of bowel sounds, and usual pattern of bowel function.
- Assess color, consistency, and amount of stool produced.
Potential Nursing DiagnosesConstipation (Indications)
- This medication does stimulate intestinal peristalsis.
- Oral: Administer with a full glass of water or juice preferably in the evening.
- Do not administer within 2 hr of other laxatives, especially mineral oil. May cause increased absorption.
- Advise patients that laxatives should be used only for short-term therapy. Long-term therapy may cause electrolyte imbalance and dependence.
- Encourage patients to use other forms of bowel regulation, such as increasing bulk in the diet, increasing fluid intake (6–8 full glasses/day), and increasing mobility. Normal bowel habits are variable and may vary from 3 times/day to 3 times/wk.
- Instruct patients with cardiac disease to avoid straining during bowel movements (Valsalva maneuver).
- Advise patient not to use laxatives when abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or fever is present.
- A soft, formed bowel movement, usually within 6–24 hr.