Docusate sodium is a stool softener that is used to treat constipation. When it takes effect, a bowel movement generally takes place within 12 to 72 hours, according to Drugs.com.
Docusate sodium is taken by mouth as either a pill or a liquid. If constipation is accompanied by stomach pain, nausea or vomiting, ask a doctor before starting to use docusate sodium. Possible side effects of this medication include diarrhea, stomach pain and cramping. If using the liquid form, an irritated throat may also occur, states WebMD. If rectal bleeding occurs, notify a doctor immediately as this is a serious side effect.