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Bisacodyl is a stimulant laxative available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that help temporarily relieve constipation. Bisacodyl can be found in single-ingredient oral stimulant laxative medicines and in single-ingredient stimulant laxative suppositories.

Bisacodyl has been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to directions on the Drug Facts label. Bisacodyl laxatives taken orally generally produce a bowel movement within six to 12 hours, while bisacodyl rectal suppositories provide relief within approximately 15 minutes to one hour. If you do not have a bowel movement after using a bisacodyl laxative medicine, contact your healthcare provider because this may be a sign of a more serious condition.

  • Suppositories are for rectal use only
  • Oral products should be swallowed whole. Do not chew or crush the medicine
  • Suppositories may cause abdominal discomfort, faintness, rectal burning, and mild cramps
  • Oral products may cause abdominal discomfort, faintness, and cramps
  • You should not use more of the medicine or for a longer period of time than the label says
  • Oral products should not be used within one hour after taking an antacid, milk, or milk products
  • You have abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
  • You have already used a laxative for more than one week
  • You have a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for more than two weeks
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have rectal bleeding or do not have a bowel movement
  • You accidentally take too much oral medicine, swallow a suppository, or use more suppositories than recommended on the label. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline
  • Talk to a healthcare provider before giving an OTC oral laxative medicine or suppository containing bisacodyl to a child under the age of 6
  • Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children

If you have questions about any of the medicines you are taking or if you have any unexpected side effects, talk to a healthcare provider. Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

Source: KnowYourOTCs

See also: Bismuth Subsalicylate