Docusate sodium is an oral medication that treats constipation with its stool-softening effects, states WebMD. Docusate sodium is particularly useful for individuals who should refrain from straining for a bowel movement, such as patients who have recently suffered from a heart attack or undergone surgery.
Docusate sodium works by absorbing water into the stools, making them softer and easier to pass, according to WebMD. It is a medication suitable only for short-term usage and should not be taken for more than one week unless directed by the doctor. Docusate sodium usually takes effect in one to three days. Patients should decrease dosage or discontinue the medication if they develop diarrhea. They should also inform the doctor if their condition does not improve.