Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 09/2007; 66(2):395-6; discussion 396. · 4.88 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Surreptitious ingestion of laxatives can lead to serious factitious diseases that are difficult to diagnose. Most cases involve ingestion of bisacodyl or senna. Thin layer chromatography (TLC) of urine or stool is the only commercially available test for these laxatives. Such testing is considered highly reliable, but its accuracy in clinical practice is unknown. Our aim was to evaluate the reliability of TLC laxative testing by a clinical reference laboratory in the United States.
Diarrhea was induced in healthy volunteers by ingestion of bisacodyl, senna, or a control laxative (n = 11 for each laxative group). Samples of urine and diarrheal stool were sent in blinded fashion to the clinical reference laboratory for bisacodyl and senna analysis.
TLC testing for bisacodyl-induced diarrhea revealed a sensitivity of 73% and specificity of 91% when urine was tested and sensitivity and specificity of 91% and 96%, respectively, when stool was analyzed. When diarrhea was induced by senna, the TLC assay for senna failed to identify even a single urine or stool specimen as positive (zero% sensitivity).
Considering the expected prevalence of surreptitious laxative abuse in patients with chronic idiopathic diarrhea (2.4%-25%, depending on the clinical setting), TLC of urine or stool for bisacodyl by this reference laboratory would often produce misleading results, and testing for senna would have no clinical value. The major problems are false-positive tests for bisacodyl and false-negative tests for senna.
Clinical Chemistry 02/2007; 53(1):85-90. · 7.91 Impact Factor
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 09/2006; 64(2):272-3. · 4.88 Impact Factor