Docusate Sodium



CAS no. 577-11-7

Docusate, known chemically as bis(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate or dioctyl sulfosuccinate (DOSS), holds a prominent place on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

Primarily recognized as docusate sodium, salts of this compound serve as widely utilized laxatives.

Notably, in 2020, it ranked as the 163rd most prescribed medication in the United States, with over 3 million prescriptions issued. 

BHM Chemicals offers high quality Ph. Eur.  and USP grades Docusade Sodium as well as 70% & 75% Solutions. 

Beyond its medical uses, docusate salts also feature in various roles as food additives, emulsifiers, dispersants, and wetting agents, highlighting their versatility across multiple industries.

Minimum order quantity: 25kg

Docusate sodium, a versatile pharmaceutical compound, has emerged as a significant agent in the medical field, renowned for its efficacy in easing constipation and facilitating bowel movements. 


Docusate sodium, chemically known as 3-(3-(dodecyloxy)propyl) sulfonate sodium, originated in the mid-20th century, primarily formulated to address constipation-related concerns. Its development stemmed from rigorous research efforts focused on enhancing bowel function and mitigating the discomfort associated with constipation. The compound gained recognition as a stool softener, revolutionizing constipation management in healthcare.


Chemical Composition and Structure:

Docusate sodium comprises a sulfonate group attached to a dodecyl chain, rendering it a surface-active agent with emulsifying properties. Its mechanism involves reducing surface tension in stool, allowing water and lipids to penetrate, thereby softening fecal matter and easing bowel movements.


Upon oral ingestion, docusate sodium acts locally within the gastrointestinal tract, exerting its stool softening effects. It is minimally absorbed systemically, primarily functioning within the intestines to facilitate the passage of stools without causing irritation or altering fluid-electrolyte balance significantly.

Safety Profile:

Docusate sodium is generally considered safe for short-term use in treating occasional constipation. However, prolonged or excessive usage may lead to dependency or electrolyte imbalances, necessitating adherence to recommended dosage guidelines.


Constipation Management:

Docusate sodium serves as a frontline treatment for constipation, particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing discomfort while passing stools. Its stool softening action aids in easing bowel movements, making it an effective remedy for short-term relief from constipation.

Post-Surgical and Medication-Induced Constipation:

In clinical settings, docusate sodium is often prescribed to prevent constipation post-surgery or to counteract constipation induced by certain medications, such as opioids.

Pediatric Use:

It is commonly used in pediatric care to manage constipation in children, providing a gentle approach to facilitate bowel movements in this demographic.

Other uses:

Beyond its medical uses, docusate salts also feature in various roles as food additives, emulsifiers, dispersants, and wetting agents, highlighting their versatility across multiple industries.


Gentle Relief:

Docusate sodium offers a gentle approach to relieve constipation, particularly suited for individuals requiring a mild intervention to promote regular bowel movements without causing harsh effects.

Adjunct Therapy:

As an adjunct therapy, docusate sodium complements dietary and lifestyle modifications, ensuring a holistic approach to managing constipation and promoting gastrointestinal health.

Widely Accessible:

The availability of docusate sodium in various formulations, including oral capsules, liquid solutions, and rectal preparations, ensures accessibility and convenience for diverse patient needs.


Docusate sodium, an integral component in constipation management, continues to play a pivotal role in promoting gastrointestinal well-being. Its evolution from a researched compound to a widely recognized stool softener emphasizes its significance in alleviating constipation-related discomfort. With its proven efficacy, diverse applications, and adherence to safety guidelines, docusate sodium remains an invaluable solution in supporting digestive health and ensuring relief for those grappling with constipation.


  1. Dipalma JR, Cleveland MV, McGowan J, Herrera JL. "A randomized, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial of polyethylene glycol laxative for chronic treatment of chronic constipation." Am J Gastroenterol. 2007;102(7):1436-1441. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.2007.01295.x.
  2. Steinbrook RA, James SP, Booker JG. "The Effectiveness of Docusate Sodium: A Critical Review of the Literature." Fam Med. 1987;19(5):311-315. PMID: 3665665.




Content (Assay)



Related non-ionic substances


Sodium sulfate






White or almost white, waxy masses or flakes, hygroscopic. Sparingly soluble in water, freely soluble in ethanol (96%) and in methylene chloride.

98.0% to 101.0% (anhydrous basis)

Conforms to Ph. Eur. tests

As per Ph. Eur. test: Not more than 0.2 mL of 0.1 M HCl is required to change the colour of the indicator to red.

Any impurity: Maximum 0.4%

Maximum 350ppm

Maximum 2.0%

Maximum 3.0%

Non-hazardous chemical

Keep container tightly closed in a cool and dry place and protected from light. Protect from contamination by foreign substances.