Summary of Leading Types of Laxatives

A helpful guide from

OVER THE COUNTER LAXATIVES:

 

Osmotic Laxative

Bulk-Forming (Fibre) Laxative

Stimulant Laxative

Examples of Brands RestoraLAX®,
Lax-A-Day®
Metamucil®, Fibre ChoiceTM Senokot®,
Ex-Lax®,
Dulcolax®
Examples of Medicinal Ingredients Polyethylene Glycol Psyllium, Inulin Sennosides, Bisacodyl
Mode of Action Retains water in the bowel to soften stools and increase the frequency of bowel movements Adds bulk and allows more water to remain in stools; making them larger, softer and easier to pass. Works by stimulating the muscles of the bowel to accelerate the stool's journey through the colon.
Form Generally available in powder form. Generally available in powder and oral pill form. Generally available in oral pill, liquid or suppository form
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for occasional constipation
for constipation and/or irregularity