Bisacodyl is a stimulant laxative available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that help temporarily relieve constipation. Bisacodyl can be found in single-ingredient oral stimulant laxative medicines and in single-ingredient stimulant laxative suppositories.

Bisacodyl has been reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to directions on the Drug Facts label. Bisacodyl laxatives taken orally generally produce a bowel movement within six to 12 hours, while bisacodyl rectal suppositories provide relief within approximately 15 minutes to one hour. If you do not have a bowel movement after using a bisacodyl laxative medicine, contact your healthcare provider because this may be a sign of a more serious condition.

  • You have abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting.
  • You have already used a laxative for more than one week.
  • You have a sudden change in bowel habits that lasts for more than two weeks.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You have rectal bleeding or do not have a bowel movement.
  • You accidentally take too much oral medicine, swallow a suppository, or use more suppositories than recommended on the label. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • Talk to a healthcare provider before giving an OTC oral laxative medicine or suppository containing bisacodyl to a child under the age of 6.
  • Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.