Cochrane Review: Osmotic and stimulant laxatives for the management of childhood constipation (Review)

RoyalManchester Children’sHospital,Manchester, UK.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 07/2012; 7(7):CD009118. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009118.pub2
Source: PubMed


Constipation within childhood is an extremely common problem. Despite the widespread use of laxatives by health professionals to manage constipation in children, there has been a long standing lack of evidence to support this practice.This review included eighteen studies with a total of 1643 patients that compared nine different agents to either placebo (inactive medications) or each other. The results of this review suggest that polyethylene glycol preparations may increase the frequency of bowel motions in constipated children. Polyethylene glycol was generally safe, with lower rates of minor side effects compared to other agents. Common side effects included flatulence, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea and headache. There was also some evidence that liquid paraffin (mineral oil) increased the frequency of bowel motions in constipated children and was also safe. Common side effects with liquid paraffin included abdominal pain, distention and watery stools. There was no evidence to suggest that lactulose is superior to the other agents studied, although there were no trials comparing it to placebo. The results of the review should be interpreted with caution due to methodological quality and statistical issues in the included studies. In addition, these studies were relatively short in duration and so it is difficult to assess the long term effectiveness of these agents for the treatment of childhood constipation. Long term effectiveness is important, given the often chronic nature of this problem in children.

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Available from: Morris Gordon, Oct 13, 2014
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    • "As in this French study, we were also able to demonstrate a benefit of PEG 4000 over lactulose with respect to stool consistency and ease of stool passage, although not with respect to associated symptoms. In the meta-analysis published by the Cochrane collaboration [26], minor adverse events occurred with similar frequency in children treated with PEG preparations and with lactulose. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Chronic constipation is frequent in children. The objective of this study is to compare the efficacy and safety of PEG 4000 and lactulose for the treatment of chronic constipation in young children. Methods This randomised, double-blind study enrolled 88 young children aged 12 to 36 months, who were randomly assigned to receive lactulose (3.3 g per day) or PEG 4000 (8 g per day) for four weeks. The primary efficacy variable was stool frequency during the fourth week of treatment. Secondary outcomes were the number and frequency of subjective symptoms associated with defecation at each visit. Results Stool frequency was comparable in the two groups at baseline (lactulose: 0.7 ± 0.5; PEG 4000: 0.5 ± 0.55). Mean stool frequency increased from 0.70 ± 0.50 stools/day at baseline to 0.80 ± 0.41 at Week 4 in the lactulose group and from 0.50 ± 0.55 to 1.10 ± 0.55 stools/day in the PEG 4000 group. A significant difference was observed in the adjusted mean change from baseline, which was 0.15 stools/day in the lactulose group and 0.51 stools/day in the PEG 4000 group, with a least-squares mean difference of 0.36 stools/day [95% CI: 0.16 to 0.56]. With respect to secondary outcome variables, stool consistency and ease of stool passage improved more in the PEG 4000 group (p = 0.001). The incidence of adverse events was similar in both groups, the majority of which were mild. Conclusions PEG 4000 has superior efficacy to lactulose for the treatment of chronic constipation in young children and is well tolerated. Trial registration US National Institute of Health Clinical Trials database; study NCT00255372 first registered 17th November 2005.
    BMC Pediatrics 06/2014; 14(1):153. DOI:10.1186/1471-2431-14-153 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Several therapies (such as lifestyle changes, osmotic agents, bulking agents, and so on) [6,7] have been used in clinical practice, which is believed to be helpful in relieving symptoms. Nonetheless, many of these therapies were not proven to be effective for the condition, or were difficult to tolerate because of adverse events [8-10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Whether acupuncture is effective for patients with functional constipation is still unclear. Therefore, we report the protocol of a randomized controlled trial of using acupuncture to treat functional constipation. A randomized, controlled, four-arm design, large-scale trial is currently undergoing in China. Seven hundred participants are randomly assigned to three acupuncture treatment groups and Mosapride Citrate control group in a 1:1:1:1 ratio. Participants in acupuncture groups receive 16 sessions of acupuncture treatment, and are followed up for a period of 9 weeks after randomization. The acupuncture groups are: (1) Back-Shu and Front-Mu acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (Shu-Mu points group); (2) He-Sea and Lower He-Sea acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (He points group); (3) Combining used Back-Shu, Front-Mu, He-Sea, and Lower He-Sea acupoints of Large Intestine meridians (Shu-Mu-He points group). The control group is Mosapride Citrate group. The primary outcome is frequency of defecation per week at the fourth week after randomization. The secondary outcomes include Bristol stool scale, the extent of difficulty during defecating, MOS 36-item Short Form health survey (SF-36), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), and Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS). The first two of second outcomes are measured 1 week before randomization and 2, 4, and 8 weeks after randomization. Other second outcomes are measured 1 week before randomization and 2 and 4 weeks after randomization, but SF-36 is measured at randomization and 4 weeks after randomization. The result of this trial (which will be available in 2012) will confirm whether acupuncture is effective to treat functional constipation and whether traditional acupuncture theories play an important role in it. Clinical NCT01411501.
    Trials 07/2012; 13(1):104. DOI:10.1186/1745-6215-13-104 · 1.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Childhood constipation is a common problem, varying from mild and short-lived to severe and chronic. In the majority of children, no organic cause can be identified and complaints are, thus, referred to as functional constipation. Infrequent painful defecation in combination with fecal incontinence has a significant impact on a child's quality of life. Pharmacological treatment often consists of fecal disimpaction and maintenance therapy. With current treatment options, results are often disappointing. Areas covered: The aim of this review is to provide an overview of current and future pharmacological therapies for functional constipation in childhood. Expert opinion: Despite the widespread use of laxatives, there is a paucity of evidence to support this practice. No strong conclusions can be drawn on which laxative to prefer over the other. However, polyethylene glycol appears to be a reasonable first choice for maintenance therapy. Due to advances in our understanding of intestinal (patho)physiology, new classes of drugs have been developed. Data from adult studies are promising; however, pediatric data are lacking. Ongoing and future studies have to determine the efficacy and safety of these new drugs in the treatment of functional constipation in children.
    Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 12/2012; 14(1). DOI:10.1517/14656566.2013.752816 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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