Medicine & USMLE

Docusate (Stool Softener)

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GI Drugs
  1. Ondansetron
  2. Sucralfate
  3. Docusate (Stool Softener)
  4. Bulk Forming Laxatives (Psyllium, Methylcellulose)
  5. Osmotic Laxatives (Lactulose, PEG)
  6. Stimulant Laxatives (Senna, Bisacodyl)
  7. Antidiarrheals (Loperamide, Diphenoxylate-Atropine)
  8. Bismuth Subsalicylate
  9. Antacids
  10. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs)
  11. H2 Blockers
  12. Metoclopramide
  13. Misoprostol
  14. Orlistat
  15. Octreotide

Summary

Docusate is a stool softener that is used to treat and prevent constipation. If used in excess, it can cause diarrhea.

Key Points

  • Stool Softeners
    • Also called surfactant laxatives
    • Key Drugs
      • Docusate
        • Docusate sodium (Colace)
        • Docusate calcium
    • Mechanism
      • Reduces surface tension of the stool to allow for water and fat to permeate and soften the stool, hence the name “stool softeners”
    • Clinical Use
      • Constipation
        • Often prescribed along with opioids, as opioids can cause constipation
      • Prevention of straining
        • Often prescribed post-abdominal surgery to prevent wound dehiscence associated with straining
        • May also be prescribed post-myocardial infarction, as preventing straining is thought to be helpful in reducing the workload of the heart
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Mild cramping
      • Bitter taste, throat irritation