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Pico liquid
Laxative 5mg
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Treatment Information

Table of contents

What is Dulcolax?

Dulcolax belongs to a group of medicines called stimulant laxatives, and is used to relieve constipation. It is available in two formulations: Tablets, which are to be swallowed whole, and an oral suspension which is "Tutti frutti" flavoured. You can buy Dulcolax tablets and liquid over the counter without a prescription.

Before considering taking laxatives to relieve your constipation, you should make appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle. Such changes may include:

  • Eating more fibre-rich foods
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Regularly exercising
  • Going to the toilet at regular intervals

While constipation can be caused by medicines, it's important to speak to your doctor if you suspect that a medicine is to blame. You should never stop taking a medicine prescribed by your doctor without explicit consent from them first.

If you still experience constipation after making changes to your diet or lifestyle, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist for advice. A healthcare professional can discuss the various treatments available and determine which treatments are safe for you.

With Prescription Doctor's convenient online pharmacy, you can buy Dulcolax tablets and Dulcolax Pico Liquid online. We offer a fast and discreet next-day delivery on orders approved before 3pm on weekdays.

How does Dulcolax work?

Dulcolax tablets contain 5mg of bisacodyl while Dulcolax Pico Liquid contains 5mg of sodium picosulfate.

These ingredients work in a similar way once they reach the intestines.

In the gut, Dulcolax stimulates the nerve endings in the walls of the large intestine and rectum, causing the muscles in the intestinal walls to contract more often and with more force. The action of the muscles contracting - known as peristalsis - pushes faecal matter through the colon towards the rectum, emptying the bowels and relieving constipation.

After taking Dulcolax, you should expect a bowel movement between 8 and 12 hours for Pico Liquid, and between 12 and 72 hours for tablets.

Dulcolax Pico Liquid takes six to twelve hours to start work so should be taken at night to give relief from constipation the following morning.

How do I take Dulcolax?

Always take Dulcolax as described in the leaflet or as the doctor or pharmacist has told you.

Dulcolax is not recommended for use in children or adolescents under 18 years of age.

Stop taking Dulcolax once your bowel regularity has returned to normal.

Dulcolax should not be taken for more than 5 consecutive days. If you need laxatives every day, you should consult a doctor to find the cause of constipation.

How to take Dulcolax tablets

You should start by taking 1 tablet before bed. This dose can be increased to 2 tablets before bed, if necessary.

Dulcolax tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water.

Do not crush or chew the tablets.

Milk, antacids and proton pump inhibitors should not be taken within an hour before or after taking Dulcolax tablets.

How to take Dulcolax Pico Liquid

The initial recommended dose of Dulcolax Pico Liquid is one 5 ml spoonfuls before bed. This dose can be increased to two 5ml spoonfuls before bed, if required.

What should I do if I forget to take Dulcolax when I should?

If you forget to take Dulcolax when you should, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for next dose, leave the forgotten dose and take Dulcolax at the next usual time. Do not take more Dulcolax to make up for the dose you missed.

What should I do if I take too much Dulcolax?

Taking more Dulcolax can lead to dehydration, imbalance of fluids and salts in the body resulting in the tightness of muscles. It can even make you tired and dizzy due to low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalaemia).

If you have mistakenly taken more Dulcolax than you should, inform your doctor or speak to a pharmacist right away. Take the medicine pack with you that helps the doctor to know what you have taken.

Dulcolax side effects and cautions

Before you take Dulcolax, it's important to familiarise yourself with the information written inside the patient information leaflet (PIL) enclosed with your treatment. This leaflet contains instructions on how to safely use and store this medicine, as well as important safety information regarding side effects and contraindications.

You can view the PILs for Dulcolax online:

Dulcolax 5mg Tablets (PIL)

Dulcolax Pico Liquid (PIL)

Side effects of Dulcolax

All medicines can cause side effects, though not everybody taking the medicine experiences them. Understanding the risks and being aware of any possible side effects is important while taking Dulcolax.

Very common side effects (may affect more than 1 in 10 people):

  • Diarrhoea

Common side effects (may affect less than 1 in 10 people):

  • Abdominal discomfort (cramps or pain)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea

Uncommon side effects (may affect less than 1 in 100 people):

  • Blood in stools
  • Discomfort inside or around the back passage
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects. Further information regarding the safety of Durolax, including a complete list of side effects, can be found within the patient information leaflet enclosed with your medicine.

If you experience any side effects, regardless of whether they are listed above or in the patient information leaflet, inform your doctor right away.


Do not take Dulcolax if you are allergic to sodium picosulfate, bisacodyl, or any of the other ingredients listed in the PIL.

If you experience the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking Dulcolax, stop taking the medicine and seek urgent medical attention by going straight to your nearest hospital's accident and emergency department. Remember to take the packaging and any remaining medicine with you so that doctors know exactly what you took.

Signs of an allergic reaction may include:

  • Chest tightening
  • Dry, red and cracked skin
  • Itchy, red watery eyes
  • Raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, eyes or face
  • Tummy pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Wheezing

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant, think you might be pregnant, planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist before taking Dulcolax.

Other safety information

Always speak to your doctor before you take Dulcolax.

When measuring out Dulcolax Pico Liquid, it is important to use a medical spoon rather than a kitchen teaspoon. Using a kitchen spoon to administer Dulcolax Pico Liquid may result in the wrong dose; too much or too little. You can buy medicine spoons from your local pharmacy.

While taking any laxative, it's important to drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent your body from becoming dehydrated. You should try to drink around 6 to 8 glasses of water to prevent dehydration.

Please inform our doctor of all medicines you are currently taking, including those prescribed by your doctor, or bought over the counter, as well as health and herbal supplements.

Do not take Dulcolax past the expiry date printed on the packaging. The date refers to the last day of the specified month.

Never throw away medicine via household or water waste. Take any unwanted or expired medication to your pharmacy and ask them to dispose of it safely on your behalf.

Always store Dulcolax out of sight and reach from children and pets.

Never share your medicine with anybody else, even if they are experiencing the same symptoms or have the same condition as you.

Frequently asked questions

Can I drink alcohol while taking Dulcolax?

While alcohol is unlikely to interact with Dulcolax, excessive alcohol consumption may make your constipation symptoms worse.

Will Dulcolax impact my ability to drive or operate machinery?

Dulcolax should not impact your ability to drive or operate machinery. If you experience any side effects which may affect your cognitive ability, such as dizziness, you should refrain from driving or activities which require your undivided attention until you feel safe to do so.

How long does Dulcolax take to work?

You should notice an improvement in your symptoms within 2 to 3 days of taking Dulcolax.

How long can I take Dulcolax for?

You should not take Dulcolax for longer than five days. If the symptoms of constipation do not improve, or indeed worsen after using Dulcolax for five days, consult a doctor or a pharmacist for advice.

Will Dulcolax help me lose weight?

No, Dulcolax is not a weight loss aid and will not help to reduce the absorption of calories or nutrients.

Table of contents

What is Dulcolax?

How does Dulcolax?

How to take Dulcolax?

Dulcolax side effects and cautions

Frequently asked questions


NHS, 2020. Constipation.

NHS, 2019. Laxatives

Sanofi, 2020. Dulcolax Adult 5 mg Gastro-resistant Tablets (GSL): Summary of Product Characteristics

Sanofi, 2020. Dulcolax Adult Pico Liquid, 5 mg / 5 ml, oral solution: Summary of Product Characteristics

Treatment information

  • Product Name: Dulcolax
  • Manufacturer: Sanofi
  • Active Ingredient(s): Sodium picosulfate (Pico Liquid), Bisacodyl (tablets)
  • Administration: Oral
  • Presentation: Viscous, fruit flavoured liquid; or circular, biconvex sugar-coated tablets
  • Available Strength: 5mg/5ml (Pico Liquid), 5mg (tablets)
  • Exemption: GSL
  • Dosage: Take one to two 5ml spoonfuls, or one or two 5 mg tablets, before bed.
  • Description: Dulcolax is a stimulant laxative which causes the bowel to push stools along.
  • Drug Class: Laxative
  • Alcohol Consumption: Avoid excessive alcohol consumption as this can worsen your constipation.
  • When Pregnant: Speak to your doctor before taking Dulcolax if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • When Breastfeeding: Speak to your doctor before taking Dulcolax if you are breastfeeding.
  • Price: 1.49 GBP
Click here to view the Dulcolax - Patient Information Leaflet

Authored & Reviewed By

Adil Bhaloda

Adil Bhaloda

Adil provides governance for the online services, overseeing prescription dispensation in line with UK pharmacy standards.

Published on: 02/12/2020 Reviewed on: 13/03/2024

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