Medicines & Supplements A to Z > Senna


Last updated on 18/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions  |   Tips  |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Senna / Sennosides


BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Grains De Vals Senna 舒利便, Senokot

DRUG CLASS: Stimulant laxative

USED FOR: Constipation 

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Bisacodyl, Sodium Picosulfate


What is Senna for?

Senna is a medicine that is derived from the senna plant. It belongs to a class of medications called stimulant laxatives, which can stimulate a bowel movement by increasing the activity of the intestines. Senna is therefore used for treating constipation. Sennosides can be found in Senna and they are activated by the bacteria in the colon. It takes 6-12 hours for Senna to work and hence it is preferred to take Senna at bedtime in order to have a bowel movement the next morning.

How to use it?

Senna can be taken by mouth as tablets. For adults, you should take 7.5-15 mg daily at bedtime, start at a low dose and increase gradually. The maximum dose is 30 mg daily but higher doses may be prescribed by doctors. For children between 6 and 17 years old, the dose should be 7.5-30 mg once daily and adjusted according to their response.

What are the side effects of Senna?

Common side effects of Senna include abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

Who should not take Senna?

Senna is generally safe for pregnancy and lactation.

Pharmacist Tips:

Laxatives should not be taken to lose weight.

Common dosing schedule:
This drug should be taken at bedtime since it takes several hours for the drug to exert its effects.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Senna may interact with:
– Licorice root

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Senna in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Senna is an over-the-counter medicine which can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Senna in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.