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Brand Name(s) : Dulcolax Perles, Citrafleet in combination with magnesium citrate, Picolax in combination with magnesium citrate
Side Effects


Sodium picosulfate should be used with caution in:

It should not be used in:

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Store below 25°C.


What is it used for?

  • Sodium picosulfate is used to relieve constipation (difficulty with bowel movements).
  • It is a stimulant laxative, which induces a laxative effect (stimulating stool production).
  • It is used to relieve constipation and works by stimulating nerve endings in the walls of part of the gut called the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This causes the muscles in the intestine wall to contract more often and with increased force, emptying the bowel and relieving constipation. As sodium picosulfate is activated by natural bacteria found in the colon, it does not start working until it reaches this part of the gut.
  • In general, this drug is used to relieve constipation and to empty the bowel before surgery, or certain medical procedures such as radiological examination of the bowel.
  • Benefits of being on this drug can include regular bowel movements.

Listed below are the typical uses of sodium picosulfate.

  • Short-term relief of constipation
  • Management of constipation (of any cause)
  • Clearing the bowel before surgery, diagnostic procedures (e.g. colonoscopy) or radiological investigations.

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.


How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once-daily before going to bed. Capsules should be taken whole with a glass of water. It is also available in liquid form, which should be taken orally.
  • Always take this medicine as exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take 6–12 hours before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • No. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • Always complete the full course as prescribed by your doctor..


  • Diarrhoea
  • Belly discomfort or pain
  • Belly cramps
  • Feeling sick (nausea).

Only the most common side effects have been listed. If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • prolonged constipation.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking sodium picosulfate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other laxatives; or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: an obstruction of the intestine (gut), paralytic ileus (lack of bowel movements, leading to blockage of the gut), abdominal pain plus feeling sick (nausea) or vomiting, active and severe inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis, a disease of the lower intestine [colon] characterised by open sores [ulcers] with symptoms such as frequent diarrhoea mixed with blood), surgical abdominal (belly) conditions (such as appendicitis), or severe dehydration.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any history of bowel (gut) disorders, in particular, any disorders that cause obstruction or partial obstruction of the gut, any belly pains, feeling sick or vomiting, or bloody stools.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Alcohol intake is not known to affect sodium picosulfate.

The elderly: sodium picosulfate can be used in the elderly.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


The safety of sodium picosulfate has not been established during pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


The safety of sodium picosulfate has not been established in breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur:

  • None known.

If you are currently using any of these medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting sodium picosulfate.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using sodium picosulfate, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.


Symptoms of an overdose may include: diarrhoea and belly cramps, and potentially low potassium levels in the blood (hypokalaemia) and an imbalance in the amount of fluid and salts (electrolytes).

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of sodium picosulfate or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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