Medication Information Leaflet

​What is this medication for?

Bisacodyl is available as both tablets and suppositories.
  • This medicine is used to treat constipation.
  • It may also be used to empty the colon before an X-ray examination of the abdomen or endoscopy (where a camera is used to examine the digestive tract) and before surgery.
    • Tablets may take up to 12 hours to take effect .
    • Suppositories work within 15 minutes to an hour.

How should I take/use this medication?

  • Take your medication as instructed by your healthcare professional.
  • Swallow your tablets whole. It should not be chewed or crushed. Do not use within one hour after taking an antacid, milk or any dairy products.
  • Suppositories are for rectal use only.
  • This medication should only be used for a short period of time. Check with your healthcare professional if your constipation does not go away.

What should I do if I forget to take/use this medication?

  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember.
  • If it is very near to your next dose then take your next dose at the usual time.
  • Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.

What precautions should I take?

Inform your healthcare professional if: 
  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • Inform your healthcare professional if you are on a galactose or lactose free diet. Some preparations contain both lactose and galactose.
  • Inform your healthcare professional if you have either pre-existing/or a history of bowel obstruction.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

What are some side-effects that I need to seek medical advice immediately?

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you have pre-existing or develop new sudden, severe abdominal pain.
  • Seek immediate medical attention should you experience rectal bleeding (including blackened stool) or blood stained vomit or should symptoms persist despite treatment.

What are some other side-effects of this medication?

Bisacodyl may cause abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting and in the case of suppositories may lead to rectal irritation.
  • If these symptoms occur, are persistent and/or distressing or should any unusual symptoms arise, consult your healthcare professional.

What food or medication should I avoid when I take this medication?

Bisacodyl can generally be taken with most other food or medicines. Do space apart antacid, milk and dairy products by at least one hour if you are using bisacodyl tablets. However, please inform your healthcare professionals if you are taking other medicines or herbal preparations.

How should I store this medication?

  • Tablets should be stored in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. Suppositories should be stored in the fridge. Do not freeze.
  • Keep medication away from children

How should I throw away this medication safely?

Pack this medication into a black trash bag and seal it tightly before throwing into the rubbish chute or bin. 

Please take note that the above is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you have any concerns about your medication or if you have other side effects that you think are caused by this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

If you take more than the recommended dose, please seek medical advice immediately. The information provided on this page does not replace information from your healthcare professional. Please consult your healthcare professional for more information.

This article is jointly developed by members of the National Medication Information workgroup. The workgroup consists of cluster partners (National Healthcare Group, National University Health System and SingHealth), community pharmacies (Guardian, Unity and Watsons) and Pharmaceutical Society of Singapore. The content does not reflect drug availability and supply information in pharmacies and healthcare institutions. You are advised to check with the respective institutions for such information.

Last updated on September 2022

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