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docusate (colace)

available over the counter: yes

uses: to prevent constipation; useful in persons who should not strain during bowel movements

mechanism of action: draws liquid into stools, forming a softer mass

side effects
• common:
abdominal cramping, diarrhea
• less common: throat irritation, laxative dependence
• serious: severe abdominal cramping

concerns: do not take for more than one week, unless your doctor advises; overuse may cause dependence, and may damage the nerves, muscles and other tissues of the bowel;  do not use in conjunction with mineral oil


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