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BNF Chapter 1 – Gastrointestinal System


Many of the drugs listed in this formulary can cause constipation and it is important that service users are provided with education and lifestyle advice to help prevent or manage constipation. Service users should be encouraged to have a high fibre diet together with adequate fluid intake and exercises where tolerated. 

Stimulant laxatives Preparations Comment
Long term use of stimulant laxatives should be avoided due to risk of an atonic non-functioning colon. (Avoid long-term use of stimulant laxatives with clozapine)
Bisacodyl 5mg tablets
5mg and 10mg suppositories
Docusate sodium 100mg capsules
100mg/5ml, 50mg/5ml, 12.5mg/5ml oral solution
Glycerol Suppositories 1g, 2g, 4g  
Senna 7.5mg tablets,  7.5mg/5ml oral solution  


Osmotic laxatives Preparations      Comments
Lactulose Oral solution Can take up to 48 hours to act. Administered with plenty of water.
Macrogol 3350 with potassium chloride, sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride Oral powder (sachets) Current brand supplied for in-patients Laxido® sachets (other brands available include  Movicol®, Cosmocol®)
Phosphate enema (sodium acid phosphate with sodium phosphate) Cleen Ready-to-Use enema 133ml pack with standard tube  
Sodium Citrate (Rectal) Micro-enema 5ml single dose  


Continue to BNF Chapter 4


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