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How often can you use stimulant laxatives without becoming dependent on them?

Laxatives constipation IBS Questions Help Digestive Health

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#1 OkayThen


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Posted 04 October 2015 - 07:34 PM

Right now I take them once a week/when the constipation gets really bad. And have been for the past 10 weeks. Is that enough to become dependent on them? If so then how often can you take them without becoming dependent on them? They say to only take them occasionally but how often is "occasionally" to them?

#2 annie7


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Posted 05 October 2015 - 05:21 AM

yesterday we had a thread about stimulant laxatives.   the links i posted discuss safety, dependency etc.


here's the link to that thread: 




the stimulant laxatives that were considered dangerous were taken off the  market years ago.  i remember when that happened.  


as always, it's best to ask your gastroenterologist about laxative usage. that's why the instructions on the box say to take them occasionally.  they want you to consult with your doc if you find you need to use them quite often or daily so your doctor can evaluate your situation to see just what's going on and why your constipation has become chronic.


 in my own particular case, my constipation problems were so severe that both my gastros and my colorectal surgeons told me to take whatever i need to go and that daily use was fine--that (for me) it was far better to use them daily than to risk becoming impacted. but that's me.


IMHO especially because of your age you should discuss with your doc...

these are just my own thoughts. for expert medical advice please contact a health care professional.

#3 Sean


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Posted 05 October 2015 - 10:20 AM



I completely agree with Annie that this is a question that you need to discuss with your doctor. Given your issues and your age, it might be a very good idea to consult with a pediatric gastroenterologist who deals with chronic constipation and encopresis in young people all the time. I recall that your doctor put you on a regimen of Miralax daily. Is that not working for you? Have your tried upping the dosage. Miralax is pretty benign and I don't think there should be an issue with simply increasing the dosage until you basically have diarrhea.


By the way, I have asked myself the question about stimulant laxatives for years. It is pretty much the only way I can have a bm anymore. I use them every 4 to 7 days, depending on how I am feeling and what my schedule permits. I take comfort in the fact that my gastroenterologist is on board with my use and that there are studies (like the one that Annie linked to) that show that stimulant laxative use is safe in people who legitimately need them and who take them in recommended doses.

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