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Side Effects of Colace Capsules

author image Lisabetta DiVita
Lisabetta Divita is a physician whose love for writing flourished while she was exposed to all facets of the medical field during her training. Her writings are currently featured in prominent medical magazines and various online publications. She holds a doctorate in medicine, a master's in biomedicine, and a Bachelor of Science in biology from Boston College.
Side Effects of Colace Capsules
Woman lying on couch holding her stomach Photo Credit conejota/iStock/Getty Images


Colace (docusate) is a medication used to treat constipation. According to Drugs.com, it is a stool softener that makes your bowels softer. Easier bowel movements decrease pain, straining and damage to your rectal tissues. Colace is available as a capsule, and you typically take this medication with a full glass of water once a day or as your doctor prescribes.

Common Side Effects

According to Drugs.com, Colace capsules typically cause a skin rash, diarrhea, nausea, throat irritation and a bitter taste in your mouth. Diarrhea leads to fluid loss and can subsequently result in dehydration and reduced blood potassium levels. Symptoms of dehydration include decreased urination, dry mucus membranes and dry skin. You must drink six to 10 full glasses of water daily. This can keep your body hydrated while you take Colace. Low blood potassium levels can cause muscle pain or cramping, constipation or fatigue. Try to add bananas, apricots or other potassium-rich foods into your diet as this can help maintain normal potassium levels. Stop taking Colace when these symptoms remain for approximately three to four days. Your doctor can prescribe an alternative medication for you.

Serious Side Effects

MedlinePlus indicates that Colace can cause such serious side effects as vomiting, stomach pain, trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), a skin rash and fever. Vomiting, like diarrhea, results in bodily water loss, dehydration and low potassium levels. Frequent bouts of this can be potentially life threatening. Trouble swallowing can lead to weight loss and choking on your own saliva or food. This, too can be potentially fatal. Drugs.com indicates that Colace can cause rectal bleeding, severe stomach pain and a lack of a bowel movement. No bowel movements can be potentially fatal as your body is not able to get rid of its waste products. Call your physician when Colace causes you to exhibit these side effects.

Additional Concerns

Avoid Colace if you are allergic to docusate. Potentially life-threatening manifestations of an allergic reaction include trouble breathing, hives and swelling of your face, tongue and throat. Call 911 because this is a medical emergency. Drugs.com indicates that you shouldn't take Colace if you have an intestinal disorder such as Crohn's disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disorder), stomach pain, vomiting or nausea. Colace may exacerbate these medical problems. Inform your physician if you take aspirin or mineral oils as Colace can interact with these drugs and lead to the aforementioned side effects.

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