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Co-danthrusate (dantron and docusate sodium) oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Stimulant laxatives


Oral formulations of dantron and docusate sodium.

Drugs List

  • co-danthrusate (dantron 50mg/5ml and docusate sodium 60mg/5ml) oral suspension sugar-free
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Constipation in terminally ill patients



    1 to 3 capsules at bedtime.

    Oral suspension
    5ml to 15ml at bedtime.


    Children aged 12 to 18 years
    (See Dosage; Adult)

    Children aged 6 to 12 years
    1 capsule at bedtime.

    Oral suspension
    5ml at bedtime.

    The following dosing schedule for oral suspension may also be suitable:
    Children aged 12 to 18 years
    (See Dosage; Adult)

    Children aged 6 to 12 years
    5ml at bedtime.


    Abdominal pain of unknown cause
    Gastrointestinal obstruction

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children under 6 years
    Faecal incontinence
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    Hereditary fructose intolerance
    Lactose intolerance
    Urinary incontinence

    Restricted use - terminally ill patients only
    Should not be used in infants wearing nappies
    Presentations with sorbitol unsuitable in hereditary fructose intolerance
    Some formulations contain lactose
    Capsules not licensed in children under 6 years
    Risk of adenocarcinoma of the bowel and liver
    Not for long term use
    May discolour urine orange

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Co-danthrusate is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    In animal studies, dantron has been associated with adenocarcinomas in the bowel and tumours in the liver. A theoretical risk of similar effects in humans is therefore possible.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Co-danthrusate is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    LactMed states that docusate is minimally absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and therefore the drug is unlikely to be found in the maternal serum or breast milk. Laxatives that are completely unabsorbed may be preferred.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Discolouration of mucosa of the large intestine
    Discolouration of urine
    Perianal discolouration
    Perianal excoriation
    Perianal irritation
    Perineal erythema


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: June 2015

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Normax 50mg/60mg Capsules / Co-danthrusate 50mg/60mg Capsules. Galen Limited. Revised November 2014.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Co-danthrusate suspension. Pinewood Healthcare. Revised August 2015.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 23 June 2017

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Docusate. Last revised: 07 September 2013
    Last accessed: 18 June 2015

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