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Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS) is an anionic detergent that is used widely as a laxative and promoted as a stool softener. Although many anecdotal reports attest to the laxative and stool softening efficacy of DSS, no controlled trials have been performed to document the effect of DSS on small or large bowel function in humans. We have compared, therefore, the effects of 100 mg of DSS three times daily (the maximum recommended dose) with placebo in a randomized, single blind, crossover study in two groups of subjects. First, 6 healthy ileostomates were studied while they ate a constant diet for 8 days. Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate administered for 4 days did not increase the daily ileal output of carbohydrate, total fatty acids, bile acids, nitrogen, or water. Cholesterol excretion was decreased while taking DSS (p less than 0.05). Second, 6 healthy volunteers were studied while eating a constant diet of 20 g of fiber plus 30 radiopaque markers daily so that mean daily transit time could be measured. After equilibration, a 7-day collection of stool was weighed and lyophylized to measure fecal water. Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate had no effect on stool weight, stool frequency, stool water, or mean transit time. We conclude that 300 mg/day of DSS does not increase ileal or colonic output of solids or water in healthy human subjects.


Journal article



Publication Date





489 - 493


Administration, Oral, Adult, Clinical Trials as Topic, Dioctyl Sulfosuccinic Acid, Feces, Female, Humans, Ileostomy, Intestine, Large, Intestine, Small, Male, Middle Aged, Random Allocation, Succinates