This information is intended for use by health professionals
Senokot 7.5mg Tablets
Each tablet contains powdered Alexandrian Senna fruit (pods) (Cassia senna L. (C. acutifolia Delile)) and Tinnevelly Senna fruit (pods) (Cassia angustifolia Vahl) equivalent to 7.5mg hydroxyanthracene glycosides, calculated as sennoside B.
Each tablet also contains 15.82 mg lactose monohydrate
For full list of excipients, see section 6.1
For the short-term relief of occasional constipation
For oral administration.
The correct individual dose is the smallest required to produce a comfortable soft-formed motion.
Adults, the elderly and children over 12 years: Swallow one to two tablets at night
A higher dose may be prescribed under medical guidance. The maximum daily dose of hydroxyanthracene glycosides is 30 mg.
Should not be used in children or adolescents under the age of 12 years (see section 4.3).
New users should start with the lowest dose and increase it to the maximum dose if necessary. Once regularity has been regained dosage should be reduced and can usually be stopped.
If no bowel action has occurred after three days of progressively increased dosage, a medical examination should be considered.
Duration of use
Use for more than 1-2 weeks requires medical supervision.
If the symptoms persist or worsen during the use of the medicinal product, a doctor should be consulted.
See also section 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use.
Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients.
Not to be used at the same time as other laxative agents.
Cases of intestinal obstructions and stenosis, atony, appendicitis, inflammatory bowel diseases (e.g Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), abdominal pain of unknown origin, severe dehydration state with water and electrolyte depletion
Children under 12 years of age.
If the symptoms worsen during the use of the medicinal product or there is no bowel movement after three days, a doctor or pharmacist should be consulted.
If laxatives are needed every day, or abdominal pain persists, a doctor should be consulted.
If laxatives are needed every day the cause of the constipation should be investigated. Long-term use of laxatives should be avoided.
The product contains lactose monohydrate. One tablet contains 15.82mg lactose monohydrate. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.
Do not exceed the stated dose.
Patients taking cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmic medicinal products, medicinal products inducing QT-prolongation, diuretics, adrenocorticosteroids or liquorice root, have to consult a doctor before taking senna leaf preparations concomitantly.
Like all laxatives, Senokot should not be taken by patients suffering from faecal impaction and undiagnosed, acute or persistent gastro-intestinal complaints, e.g. abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, unless advised by a doctor, because these symptoms can be signs of potential or existing intestinal blockage (ileus).
Long-term use of stimulant laxatives should be avoided, as use for more than a brief period of treatment may lead to impaired function of the intestine and dependence on laxatives. If laxatives are needed every day the cause of the constipation should be investigated. This product should only be used if a therapeutic effect cannot be achieved by a change of diet or the administration of bulk forming agents. Prolonged use may precipitate the onset of an atonic, non-functioning colon.
Prolonged excessive use may lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalance and hypokalaemia. Patients with kidney disorders should be aware of possible electrolyte imbalance.
Intestinal loss of fluids may promote dehydration. Symptoms may include thirst and oliguria. In patients suffering from fluid loss where dehydration may be harmful (e.g. renal insufficiency, elderly patients) Senokot should be discontinued and only be restarted under medical supervision.
When products containing senna leaf preparations are administered to incontinent adults, pads should be changed more frequently to prevent extended skin contact with faeces.
Stimulant laxatives (including Senokot) do not help with weight loss.
Hypokalaemia (resulting from long-term laxative abuse) potentiates the action of cardiac glycosides and interacts with antiarrhythmic medicinal products, with medicinal products, which induce reversion to sinus rhythm (e.g. quinidine) and with medicinal products inducing QT-prolongation. Concomitant use with other medicinal products inducing hypokalaemia (e.g. diuretics, adrenocorticosteroids and liquorice root) may enhance electrolyte imbalance.
There are no reports of undesirable or damaging effects during pregnancy and on the foetus when used at the recommended dosage schedule.
However, as a consequence of experimental data concerning a genotoxic risk of several anthranoids, e.g emodin and aloe-emodin, use is not recommended during pregnancy.
Use during breastfeeding is not recommended as there are insufficient data on the excretion of metabolites in breast milk.
Small amounts of active metabolites (rhein) are excreted in breast milk. A laxative effect in breast fed babies has not been reported.
There are no data on the effects of the product on fertility.
Adverse events which have been associated with senna at OTC doses in short-term use are given below, tabulated by system organ class and frequency.
In the treatment of chronic condition, under long-term treatment, additional adverse effects may occur.
Adverse events table
System Organ Class
Immune System Disorders
Hypersensitivity, urticaria, asthma, hypogammaglobulinaemia
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders
Abdominal pain, abdominal spasm, diarrhoea2, gastrointestinal tract mucosal pigmentation3
Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders
Pruritus, local or generalised exanthema
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders
Finger clubbing, tetany and hypertrophic osteoarthropathy
Renal and Urinary Disorders
Description of Selected Adverse Reactions
1 Prolonged use of laxatives resulting in diarrhoea and subsequently hypokalaemia.
2 in particular in patients with irritable colon. Symptoms may also occur generally as a consequence of individual overdosage. In such cases dose reduction is necessary.
3 Chronic use may cause pigmentation of the intestinal mucosa (pseudomelanosis coli), which usually recedes when the patient stops taking the preparation.
4 Yellow or red-brown (pH dependent) discolouration of urine by metabolites, which is not clinically significant, may occur during the treatment.
Chronic use may lead to disorders in water equilibrium and electrolyte metabolism and may result in albuminuria and haematuria.'
The frequency is not known (cannot be estimated from the available data).
If other adverse reactions not mentioned above occur, a doctor or a qualified healthcare practitioner should be consulted.
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
Where diarrhoea is severe, conservative measures are usually sufficient; generous amounts of fluid, especially fruit drinks, should be given.
The major symptoms of overdose/abuse are griping pain and severe diarrhoea with consequent losses of fluid and electrolytes, which should be replaced.
Diarrhoea may especially cause potassium depletion, which may lead to cardiac disorders and muscular asthenia, particularly where cardiac glycosides, diuretics, adrenocorticosteroids or liquorice root are being taken at the same time.
Treatment should be supportive with generous amounts of fluid. Electrolytes, especially potassium, should be monitored. This is especially important in the elderly. Chronic ingested overdoses of anthranoid containing medicinal products may lead to toxic hepatitis.
Pharmaco-therapeutic group: contact laxatives
ATC-code: A 06 AB
The sugar moiety of the sennosides is removed by bacteria in the large intestine releasing the active anthrone fraction. This stimulates peristalsis via the submucosal and myenteric nerve plexuses.
1,8-dihydroxyanthracene derivatives possess a laxative effect. The β-Ο-linked glycosides (sennosides) are not absorbed in the upper gut; they are converted by bacteria of the large intestine into the active metabolite (rhein anthrone).
There are two different mechanisms of action:
1. stimulation of the motility of the large intestine resulting in accelerated colonic transit.
2. influence on secretion processes by two concomitant mechanisms viz. inhibition of absorption of water and electrolytes (Na+, Cl-) into the colonic epithelial cells (antiabsorptive effect) and increase of the leakiness of the tight junctions and stimulation of secretion of water and electrolytes into the lumen of the colon (secretagogue effect) resulting in enhanced concentrations of fluid and electrolytes in the lumen of the colon.
Defaecation takes place after a delay of 8 - 12 hours due to the time taken for transport to the colon and metabolisation into the active compound.
The action of the sennosides is colon specific and does not depend upon systemic absorption.
The β-Ο-linked glycosides (sennosides) are neither absorbed in the upper gut nor split by human digestive enzymes. They are converted by the bacteria of the large intestine into the active metabolite (rhein anthrone). Aglyca are absorbed in the upper gut. Animal experiments with radio-labeled rhein anthrone administered directly into the caecum demonstrated absorption < 10%. In contact with oxygen, rhein anthrone is oxidised into rhein and sennidins, which can be found in the blood, mainly in the form of glucuronides and sulphates. After oral administration of sennosides, 3 - 6% of the metabolites are excreted in urine; some are excreted in bile.
Most of the sennosides (ca. 90%) are excreted in faeces as polymers (polyquinones) together with 2 - 6% of unchanged sennosides, sennidins, rhein anthrone and rhein. In human pharmacokinetic studies with senna pods powder (20 mg sennosides), administered orally for 7 days, a maximum concentration of 100 ng rhein/ml was found in the blood. An accumulation of rhein was not observed. Active metabolites, e.g. rhein, pass in small amounts into breast milk. Animal experiments demonstrated that placental passage of rhein is low.
Most data refer to extracts of senna pods containing 1.4 to 3.5% of anthranoids, corresponding to 0.9 to 2.3% of potential rhein, 0.05 to 0.15% of potential aloe-emodin and 0.001 to 0.006% of potential emodin or isolated active constituents, e.g. rhein or sennosides A and B. The acute toxicity of senna pods, specified extracts thereof, as well as of sennosides in rats and mice was low after oral treatment.
As a result of investigations with parenteral application in mice, extracts are supposed to possess a higher toxicity than purified glycosides, possibly due to the content of aglyca.
In a 90-day rat study, senna pods were administered at dose levels from 100 mg/kg up to 1,500 mg/kg. The tested drug contained 1.83 % sennosides A-D, 1.6 % potential rhein, 0.11 % potential aloe-emodin and 0.014 % potential emodin. In all groups epithelial hyperplasia of the large intestine of minor degree was found and was reversible within the 8-week recovery period. The hyperplastic lesions of the forestomach epithelium were reversible as well. Dose-dependent tubular basophilia and epithelial hypertrophy of the kidneys were seen at a dose of, or greater than 300 mg/kg per day without functional affection. These changes were also reversible. Storage of a brown tubular pigment led to a dark discoloration of the renal surface and still remained to a lesser degree after the recovery period. No alterations were seen in the colonic nervous plexus. A no-observable-effect-level (NOEL) could not be obtained in this study.
A 104-week study on rats of both genders did not reveal any carcinogenic effects with the same senna pods preparation at oral dosages of up to 300 mg/kg.
In addition a specified senna extract given orally for 2 years was not carcinogenic in male or female rats. The extract investigated contained approximately 40.8% of anthranoids from which 35% were sennosides, corresponding to about 25.2% of potential rhein, 2.3% of potential aloe-emodin and 0.007% of potential emodin and 142 ppm free aloe-emodin and 9 ppm free emodin.
Further 2-year studies on male and female rats and mice with emodin gave no evidence of carcinogenic activity for male rats and female mice, and equivocal evidence for female rats and male mice.
Sennosides displayed no specific toxicity when tested at doses up to 500 mg/kg in dogs for 4 weeks and up to 100 mg/kg in rats for 6 months.
There was no evidence of any embryolethal, teratogenic or foetotoxic actions in rats or rabbits after oral treatment with sennosides. Furthermore, there was no effect on the postnatal development of young rats, on rearing behaviour of dams or on male and female fertility in rats. Data for herbal preparations are not available.
An extract and aloe-emodin were mutagenic in in vitro tests, sennoside A, B and rhein gave negative results. Comprehensive in vivo examinations of a defined extract of senna pods were negative.
Chronic laxative use as a risk factor in colorectal cancer (CRC) was investigated in some clinical trials. Some studies revealed a risk for CRC associated with the use of anthraquinone-containing laxatives, some studies did not. However, a risk was also revealed for constipation itself and underlying dietary habits. Further investigations are needed to assess the carcinogenic risk definitely.
Tablets in a polypropylene container: five years
For tablets in a polypropylene container: store below 30°C
Store in the original package
Also for polypropylene container: replace cap firmly after use
500 tablets in a polypropylene container with a snap-fit lid
Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare (UK) Limited
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