Managing Symptoms: Bowel Laxative Regimen

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Please use for reference only.

The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: January 22, 2002

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To Prevent or treat constipation your doctor or nurse may recommend the following schedule of laxatives and stool softeners. DO NOT TAKE ANY MEDICATIONS UNLESS INSTRUCTED BY YOUR DOCTOR OR NURSE.

  • Routinely take 2 tablets of Senekot-S® at bedtime. This can be increased by your doctor or nurse to 2-3 times per day, if needed.
  • If you have not had a bowel movement for 1-2 days (days 1-2):
    • Continue the Senekot-S®
    • Take 2 tablespoons of Milk of Magnesia at dinner time and bedtime

  • If no bowel movement by the next morning (day 3):
    • Continue the Senekot-S®
    • Take 2 Ducolox® tablets 3 times during the day and at bedtime

  • If no bowel movement by the next morning (day 4):
    • Continue the Senekot-S®
    • Contact your doctor or nurse who may instruct you take 1/2 - 1 bottle of Magnesium Citrate in the morning
    • If still no bowel movement by the afternoon, contact your doctor or nurse again. You might be instructed to take a Fleet's® enema or Ducolox® suppository, unless your white blood cell or platelet count is low

  • If no bowel movement by the next morning (day 5):
    • Contact your doctor or nurse again
Call your doctor or nurse at any time if you have:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain, cramping or swelling
  • Blood in stool
  • Rectal pain
  • Loose or watery stool
  • Fever greater than 100.5F

If you have any questions about the bowel laxative regimen or need additional information or instruction, ask your doctor or nurse. Please let your doctor or nurse know if you would like information on other topics.


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