By the way, doctor: Is it okay to take a stool softener long-term?

Q. I have been taking a stool softener daily for two months. It's helped with my constipation. Are there any risks to taking a stool softener on a long-term basis?

A. The risk of problems from long-term use of stool softeners such as docusate sodium (Colace, Regulax SS, other brands) really isn't the issue. The question is whether they do much good. Studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of preparations taken expressly for stool softening.

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