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Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Stool softeners


Glycerol suppositories contain 70% of glycerol in a gelatine basis and are available in the following sizes:
1g suppository (for infants)
2g suppository (for children)
4g suppository (for adults)

Drugs List

  • glycerol 1g suppository
  • glycerol 2g suppository
  • glycerol 4g suppository
  • Dosage


    One 4g suppository as required.


    One 4g suppository as required.


    Children 1 -12 years
    One 2g suppository as required.

    Children 1 month - 1 years
    One 1g suppository as required.


    One 4g suppository as required.


    For rectal administration

    The suppository tip should be moistened with water to aid the insertion before use.


    Neonates under 1 month

    Precautions and Warnings

    This product should be used with caution in:
    Intestinal obstruction or blockage
    Abdominal pain of unknown cause
    Patients at risk of dehydration
    Diabetes mellitus - due to the risk of developing hyperglycaemia and glycosuria
    Children under 12 years of age (see ' Children - Dosage' section)

    Glycerol should be used also with caution in: hypervolaemia, cardiac failure and renal disease.

    Prolonged use of the product can cause diarrhoea and related side effects such as hypokalaemia, but also can precipitate the onset of atonic non functioning colon.

    Advise patients to consult a doctor if symptoms persist for more than 3 days.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    No special precautions are considered necessary

    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 14-17 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 ( ).


    No special precautions are considered necessary.

    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


    Advise patient to consult a doctor if there is no improvement within 3 days.

    Side Effects

    Irritation (localised)
    Abdominal cramps

    It has been reported also with the use of glycerol:
    Hyperosmolar non-ketotic coma
    Circulatory overload
    Pulmonary oedema


    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 ( ).

    Shelf Life and Storage

    Store under 25 degrees C in a cool dry place.

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: May 2011

    Reference Sources

    British National Formulary, 61st Edition (2011) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    BNF for Children (2010-2011) Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference, 36th edition (2009) ed. Sweetman, S. Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Glycerin Suppositories 1g. Martindale. Revised October 2010

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Glycerin Suppositories 2g. Martindale. Revised October 2010

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Glycerin Suppositories 4g. Martindale. Revised October 2010

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Senokot Direct Relief. Reckitt Benckiser. Revised May 2007

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