Gastroenterology and stimulant laxatives

Pamela Egan Practical Practitioner


By: Pamela Egan, FNP-C CDE



Gastroenterology and stimulant laxatives



Some over-the-counter laxatives will be taken off the market or reformulated. This applies to OTC stimulants that contain cascara, casanthranol or aloe – Docusoft, Doxidan, Peri-Colace, etc.

In 1998, the FDA requested safety data from manufacturers of all OTC stimulant laxatives. The concerns centered around carcinogenicity. Manufacturers of cascara, casanthranol and aloe decided it wasn’t worth doing the studies, so they will be discontinued. Safety studies have been submitted for bisacodyl and senna.

For most patients, increasing dietary fiber or a fiber supplement (psyllium, etc…) can be used to correct irregualrity.

For occasional constipation an inexpensive saline laxative such as milk of magnesia, can be used.

Keep in mind that patients on chronic pain meds need a stimulant laxative such as Dulcolax or Senokot.

This article was originally published June 10, 2002 in The St. Tammany News. > Health Articles > Health and Wellness