Butanedioicacid,2-sulfo-,1,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester,sodium salt (its superlist name is docusate sodium) is an ingredient in medical products such as laxatives and stool softeners and it is probably the most widely used stool softener. There are many forms available over-the-counter, but a prescription strength is also available.
Stool softeners are a form of laxative, and are the gentlest on the bowels. They work by increasing the amount of water in the stool, and do not irritate the intestinal lining. While typically used to prevent constipation, they are sometimes used to treat occasional constipation.
The ordinary forms of docusate sodium available are pills, a liquid suspension, and drops. All oral forms must be taken with a full glass of water, or as instructed by a health care provider. Adequate water consumption is important while taking this medication. When taken orally, docusate sodium is effective within one to three days. Taken rectally, it is effective within five to twenty minutes. If a bowel movement has not been produced within the time frame stated on the packaging, a health care provider should be consulted.
One of the most common docusate sodium side effects is constipation, which can be accompanied by a myriad of additional side effects. Constipation is often accompanied by uncomfortable abdominal cramping and pain. Sometimes finally having a bowel movement can be extremely painful, and the situation can result in a loss of appetite. In addition, the gas and bloating associated with constipation can result in headaches, nausea, and an extremely large abdomen as if the patient overate.
The drug should not be taken together with mineral oil. Some mineral oil may be absorbed by the body if taken with docusate sodium. This can lead to mineral oil toxicity, or overdose. Symptoms of overdose include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration.
Allergic reactions can be a concern when taking this medication. Swelling or itching, especially around the face or in the mouth, can be a sign of an allergic reaction. In addition, dizziness and skin irritations such as rashes are among the most common side effects of Butanedioicacid,2-sulfo-,1,4-bis(2-ethylhexyl) ester, sodium salt (1:1) caused by an allergic reaction. Life-threatening allergic reactions are unlikely with this medication, but emergency medical help should be sought.
Diarrhea is a another side effect of docusate sodium(CAS: 577-11-7) that can result in other issues. For instance, diarrhea can cause dehydration due to an unusual amount of liquids lost in bowel movements. This means that diarrhea can lead to thirst, as well as additional stomach pain and tenderness. Especially severe diarrhea should be brought to a medical professional’s attention, because it is potentially fatal, even though unlikely for an otherwise healthy adult.