Treatment Instructions

Laxatives and Stool Softeners




Brand name


Active Ingredients



Docusate Sodium

100 mg

1 to 2 pills once a day with water

 Stool softener. 

Available in liquid form


5 mg

1 to 2 pills once a day with water


Senna 8.6 mg

2 tablets once a day with water


Available in liquid syrup

Senna 8.6 mg

Docusate Sodium 100 mg

2 tablets once a day with water

 Stool softener and stimulant


Insert 1 suppository a day

  Effect can be quick


10 mg

  Insert 1 suppository a day

 Effect can be quick

Milk of magnesia

1 to 4 tablespoons at bedtime

Can take magnesium oxide 500 mg tablets 2 to 4 per day


Magnesium Citrate 5 gm

1 sachet dissolved in water 1-3 times a day

Avoid if kidney conditions

Magnesium Citrate 296 ml

1 bottle once

 For periodic severe constipation.  Not for daily use.  Avoid in kidney conditions.  Lemon flavor

Sterculia (bulk forming)/

Frangula (mild stimulant laxative)

1-2 sachets 1-2 times a day after meals

Effective but can be difficult to ingest as granules.  Drink plenty of water

Polyethylene glycol

1 sachet 1-3 times a day

Works only in a subset of patient

Polyethylene glycol

1 cap full (17 gm) dissolved in 1 cup of water once daily

Take at night time


1-2 tablespoons 1-2 times per day

Effective but can cause bloating


  • Before you resort to laxatives and stimulants, increase dietary fiber intake [see High Fiber Foods] and try a fiber supplement [see Fiber Supplements]

  • For stool softeners and stimulants that you take once a day, try to take in the evening before bedtime

  • For laxatives, best to use during daytime

  • If you have kidney disease or heart conditions, consult with your doctor as you cannot take some of the laxatives such as those containing magnesium

  • Above recommended doses are for age 15 years and older


Above recommendations are generic recommendations for constipation but do not constitute an alternative to a proper medical evaluation by a physician to assess your condition. It is important to note that some patients with constipation may have more serious conditions that require different treatment.