It is used to relieve occasional constipation that is not caused by other medications or medical conditions.
This medicine works by increasing muscle activity in the digestive system, causing waste material to pass as a stool. You usually have a bowel movement between 6 and 12 hours after taking medicine.
Senokot is a trademark of Senna, a natural plant laxative used to treat constipation. It can also be given to empty the intestines before specific medical procedures or surgeries.
Senokot is a stimulating laxative. It works by irritating the intestinal tissues, resulting in bowel movements.
The active ingredient in Senokot is purified Senna, which is derived from the senna plant. This remedy has been used for centuries to relieve constipation.
Senokot has been sold as an over-the-counter (OTC) remedy since 1955. Purdue Pharma manufactures the drug.
Is senna herb safe to take as a laxative?
It’s okay to take senna laxatives for occasional constipation when used as directed. The labels advise against taking them for more than a week, but we recommend limiting them to a few days.
From the leaves of the Senna alexandrina shrub, Senna has been used as a herbal digestive remedy for centuries. Its key components are called sennosides (senna glycosides), which generally produce a bowel movement in 6 to 12 hours.
Although sold as a herbal supplement, Senna is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration for short-term use as a stimulant laxative and is found in over-the-counter products such as Senokot and Ex-Lax.
Senna is just one of several stimulant laxatives that increase the intestinal muscles’ contractions to move stool. Another stimulant is bisacodyl, found in Dulcolax, which may have fewer side effects.
Many people choose these laxatives because they work quickly, but they can cause colic and diarrhea. When taken longer-term, they can affect bowel function and cause laxative dependence.
The most severe concern about the overuse of stimulant laxatives is that they can cause a dangerous loss of electrolytes (including potassium).
Senna and other herbal laxatives are sometimes promoted as diet aids. But this is a dangerous way to lose weight, and it doesn’t reduce body fat, and the pounds will quickly return when you stop taking the laxative.
It is best not to rely on a laxative, especially a stimulant.
If you have chronic or recurring constipation, see your healthcare provider ensure there is no underlying problem (such as a low thyroid) and discuss “gut-friendly” lifestyle changes.
That includes a high-fiber diet (more fruits, whole grains, beans, vegetables, and increased fluid intake) and regular exercise (such as daily walking).
If you need a laxative on an ongoing basis, bulking types containing psyllium (such as Metamucil) or other fiber types are the only good options.
Polyethylene glycol (such as Miralax) is gentler than stimulant types for short-term use. You can also try this self-help technique.
How Senokot Relieves Constipation
Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces / 240 milliliters) as directed by your doctor. If you are treating yourself, follow all instructions on the product package. If you are not sure about the information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Senokot works in different ways and the effectiveness of each type of laxative varies from person to person. In general, bulk-building laxatives, also known as fiber supplements, are the gentlest on your body and the safest to use long-term.
Even though many laxatives are available without a prescription, it’s best to talk to your doctor about using laxatives and which one is best for you.
Oral laxatives can interfere with the absorption of some medications and nutrients in your body. Some laxatives can cause an electrolyte imbalance, especially after prolonged use.
Electrolytes regulate several bodily functions, including calcium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. An electrolyte imbalance can cause abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, confusion, and seizures.
Take Senokot with caution. If you rely on Senokot to have a bowel movement, ask your doctor for suggestions on gradually withdrawing from them and restoring your colon’s natural ability to contract.
In what forms does this medicine (Senokot) come?
Each ml of syrup contains Senokot in standardized doses of 1.7 mg. Non-medicinal ingredients: alcohol (7%), chocolate flavor, cocoa flavor, methylparaben, propylparaben, sodium hydroxide, sucrose (66 g / 100 ml), and water.
Each round, brown tablet contains Senokot standardized doses of 8.6 mg. Non-medicinal ingredients: cornstarch, magnesium stearate, and microcrystalline cellulose.
How should I use the Senokot?
Senokot comes as a tablet to take by mouth, with or without food. It is best to take medicine at bedtime.
The drug also comes in two other formulations: Senokot-S tablets contain a stool softener, and SenokotXTRA tablets provide a higher dose of Senokot than Senokot tablets.
Follow the directions on the product label carefully when taking this medicine. Do not take more or less Senokot than is recommended. Do not divide, chew, or crush the tablets. Swallow them whole.
The dose is based on your age, medical condition, and response to treatment. Do not increase your amount or take this medicine more often than directed.
Do not take this medicine for more than seven days unless directed by your doctor. Serious side effects can occur with the overuse of this drug.
Take Senokot with a full glass of water and drink extra fluids (eight glasses a day) while taking this medicine.
The usual adult dose of Senokot is 10 ml to 15 ml of syrup or 2 to 4 tablets, 1 or 2 times a day. The maximum amount is 15 ml or four tablets twice a day.
If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend this drug. However, the recommended dose is lower during pregnancy.
The recommended dose is 5 ml to 10 ml of syrup or 1 to 2 tablets taken 1 or 2 times a day during pregnancy. The maximum amount is 10 ml or two tablets twice a day.
Doses for children are generally smaller than those taken by adults. For children 6 to 12 years of age, the recommended dose is 5 ml to 10 ml of syrup or 1 to 2 tablets taken 1 or 2 times a day. The maximum amount is 10 ml or two tablets twice a day.
For children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, 3 to 5 ml of Senokot syrup can be administered 1 or 2 times a day. The maximum dose for this age group is 5 ml twice a day.
A bowel movement usually occurs within 6 to 12 hours of taking Senokot. This means it may take 6 to 12 hours before this medicine causes a bowel movement.
Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens or if bleeding occurs from the rectum. If you think you may have a severe medical problem, seek medical attention immediately.
It is essential to take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Use an oral syringe to measure each dose of the liquid, as it provides a more accurate measurement than household teaspoons.
This medicine should be taken at bedtime. If there is no bowel movement after using Senokot or if there is rectal bleeding, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
If you suspect an overdose of Senokot, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. If you miss a dose of Senokot, take it as soon as you remember.
Who should NOT take Senokot?
Overuse of laxatives like Senokot can lead to dependency. If you take too much of the medicine or use it for too long, you may need it to have a bowel movement.
In some severe cases, laxatives can cause damage to the intestines. Talk to your doctor about this risk. Do not take this medicine for more than a week without first checking with your healthcare provider.
Do not use this medicine if:
- You are allergic to Senokot or any part of this medicine; you have appendicitis or a blockage in your digestive tract; you have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory disease of the colon.
- You are severely dehydrated and have undiagnosed abdominal pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting.
Before taking Senokot, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:
- Congestive heart failure
- Bleeding from the stomach, intestines, or rectum.
- Recent abdominal surgery.
Do not take other laxatives or stool softeners while taking Senokot without checking with your doctor.
This medicine should be used with extreme caution in children under six. Safety and efficacy in this age group have not been confirmed.
Older adults should not take Senokot for an extended period. Talk to your doctor if you are over 65 years old before taking this medicine.
Stop using Senokot and tell your doctor if you experience a sudden change in bowel habits, nausea, or vomiting that persists for two weeks or more.
Senokot side effects
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: ongoing diarrhea or other common Senokot side effects.
Tell your doctor if any of the following side effects become severe or do not go away:
- Abdominal cramp
- Pink, red, or discolored brown urine.
Serious side effects of Senokot
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following serious side effects:
- Rectal bleeding.
- Poor bowel function
- Inflammation of the kidney.
Stop taking medicine and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- Signs of a severe allergic reaction (abdominal cramps, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat). Some people may experience side effects other than Senokot listed.
Other cautions or warnings
These factors can affect the way you should use this medicine:
Fluid and Electrolyte Balance: If Senokot is taken for an extended period, it can cause diarrhea and affect fluid and electrolyte levels. If you experience symptoms of fluid and electrolyte imbalance, such as:
- Thirst, muscle aches or cramps; dry mouth; numbness of the hands, feet, or lips; or fast heartbeat, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Tell your doctor about any heart or blood pressure medications you may be taking, as these also increase the risk of fluid and electrolyte changes.
General: If you experience a sudden change in your bowel movements that lasts two weeks or longer, do not take this medicine without first checking with your doctor. If you take Senokot and it doesn’t help with your constipation or rectal bleeding occurs, stop using this medicine and see your doctor.
Other Medications: Although Senokot does not directly affect the actions of other medications, taking it too close to other drugs can change the number of different medications your body absorbs. Avoid taking Senokot within 2 hours of any other medicine.
Medication overuse: As with any stimulant laxative, continued use of Senokot can make the gut dependent on the drug to produce stool. Unless your doctor has recommended a specific time, do not take Senokot for more than one week.
Pregnancy: It is not known if Senokot can harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor before taking this medicine if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.
However, this drug is considered safe to use during pregnancy. However, it should only be used when recommended by a doctor. Lower than usual adult doses should be used.
Breastfeeding: It is also unknown whether Senokot passes into breast milk or could harm a nursing baby. Check with your doctor before breastfeeding while using Senokot.
However, this drug is considered safe to use while breastfeeding; however, it should only be used when recommended by a doctor.
What other drugs can interact with this medicine?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also, tell them about any supplements you’re taking.
Because caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or illegal drugs can affect how many medications work, you should tell your prescriber if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
Stop taking one of the medications, switch one of the medications to another, change the way you take one or both medications, or leave everything. In many cases, interactions are intended or managed through close monitoring.
Lifestyle changes that can prevent or relieve constipation include exercising, drinking enough water, and eating a balanced diet with high-fiber foods like bran and fresh fruits/vegetables.