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First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 (2023)
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Emollient Laxatives

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Emollient Laxatives

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Email-sent Pooping-pill
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6 KEY FACTS
MECHANISM OF ACTION
Surfactant
Surf-surfactant

Emollient laxatives act as surfactant laxatives.

Decrease Stool Surface Tension
Down-arrow Stool Surface Tension-stretching

Emollient laxatives work by decreasing the surface tension of the oil and water interface of the stool. This process helps to ease the route of water and oil into the stool mass, resulting in a softer stool so the stool can move out of the body.

Entry of Water into Stool
Entry Water into Stool

Emollient laxatives will help to ease the entry of water into the stool mass, resulting in a softer stool.

INDICATION
Constipation
Corked Con-toilet

Emollient laxatives are indicated for patients with constipation if dietary and lifestyle changes and other laxatives are contraindicated and fail to cure constipation. It helps pass hard stools, which can be useful for patients with painful anorectal conditions or cardiac comorbidities. The softening effect can occur within 12 to 72 hours.

DRUGS
Docusate
Document-satan

Docusate is also known as dioctyl sulfosuccinate. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, DailyMed resource, Docusate is classified as an over-the-counter medication and has the marketing status of "OTC monograph, not final." But it is used to relieve hard or painful defecation.

SIDE EFFECTS
Diarrhea
Toilet

The most common side effect of emollient laxatives is diarrhea. Excessive consumption can make the patients experience other side effects, such as vomiting, anorexia, abdominal cramping, and, rarely, rash.

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