What is the role of stimulant laxatives in the treatment of constipation?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, PhD; more...
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Stimulant laxatives include the following:

  • Bisacodyl or bisacodyl rectal - Stimulates peristalsis potentially by stimulating the colonic intramural neuronal plexus; alters water and electrolyte secretion, resulting in net intestinal fluid accumulation and laxation; provokes defecation within 24 hours and may cause abdominal cramping

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

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