Docusate, which is available without a prescription, is used to treat constipation and is in a class of laxatives known as stool softeners.
A woman and her newborn infant experienced low blood levels of magnesium, which was possibly due to chronic use of docusate throughout and after pregnancy.1 Controlled research is necessary to determine whether people taking docusate for long periods of time need to supplement magnesium.
Taking docusate increases the amount of potassium excreted from the body in the stool.2 Whether people taking docusate for long periods of time need to increase their intake of potassium is unknown.
1. Schindler AM. Isolated neonatal hypomagnesaemia associated with maternal overuse of stool softener. Lancet 1984;2:822 [letter].
2. Moriarty KJ, Kelly MJ, Beetham R, Clark ML. Studies on the mechanism of action of dioctyl sodium sulphosuccinate in the human jejunum. Gut 1985;26:1008–13.
Last Review: 11-07-2012
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