Which medications in the drug class Stimulant Laxatives are used in the treatment of Constipation?

Updated: Jul 04, 2019
  • Author: Marc D Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Stimulant Laxatives

Stimulant laxatives are commonly employed to treat acute constipation and are the most common class of laxatives used over the long term by individuals taking over-the-counter products. The latter represents an inappropriate choice, at least as first- or second-line therapy, given concerns about the development of tolerance.

Senna (Senokot, Ex-Lax, Senexon)

Sennosides induce defecation by acting directly on the intestinal mucosa or nerve plexus, which stimulates peristaltic activity, by increasing intestinal motility. Senna usually produces its action 8-12 hours after administration.

Bisacodyl (Bisac-Evac, Biscolax, Dulcolax, Dacodyl)

Bisacodyl stimulates peristalsis by possibly stimulating the colonic intramural neuronal plexus. It alters water and electrolyte secretion, resulting in net intestinal fluid accumulation and laxation. It provokes defecation within 24 hours and may cause abdominal cramping.

Castor oil

Castor oil is reduced to ricinoleic acid. It decreases net absorption of fluid and electrolytes and stimulates peristalsis. It acts on the small intestine.

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