New guide on supply of stimulant laxatives

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has introduced new regulatory measures which apply to all GSL and P stimulant laxatives of senna and sennosides (as calcium salts), bisacodyl and sodium picosulfate. 

We’ve got a new pharmacy guide explaining how the new risk minimisation measures introduced on the sale of over-the-counter (OTC) stimulant laxatives will affect the pharmacy team and patients.

It includes resources to help you support and advise people wanting to purchase OTC stimulant laxatives on their safe and correct use following clinical guidance, and to minimise inappropriate use of OTC stimulant laxatives. It also contains useful case studies, Q&As, articles, videos and signposting.

The move supports the correct use of stimulant laxatives and follows concerns that these medicines are being intentionally abused, overused or misused.

Sandra Gidley, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:

“Stimulant laxatives can be very dangerous to patients if they are not taken correctly. Our new guidance and work with the MHRA will help to improve patient safety and support community pharmacists and their teams in giving the best possible care for those wanting to purchase these products. 

“Pharmacists have the best expertise on medicines of any health professionals, so are well placed to guide the public on using stimulant laxatives. Patients should seek the advice of community pharmacy teams if they are unsure or concerned about the laxative products they are taking.”